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“No one plans cancer. That's not something any of us want to think about.”
And yet, it’s something Jami Cornwell, RN, MSN, CMF, spends a lot of time thinking of. As a nurse navigator with Indiana University Health Bloomington Olcott Nurse Navigators, Cornwell helps her patients and their loved ones understand and manage the complex emotional and physical challenges of a cancer diagnosis.
This path wasn’t exactly Cornwell’s plan though. As a young adult, she bounced between jobs until her mother, a nurse, pointed her firmly in that direction. First, she became a licensed practical nurse , and then two decades later, earned her bachelor’s degree, followed by her master’s degree. That journey ultimately led her to her calling: becoming a nurse navigator.
As a nurse navigator, Cornwell has the opportunity to live out her personal mission of helping people every day. “A nurse navigator is someone that holds your hand throughout your cancer journey,” she said, “and is able to find ways to make that journey a little bit easier.
But it wouldn’t be possible, Cornwell said, without philanthropy. She points to the program’s gas card initiative, funded by numerous community organizations and individual donors, which provides gift cards to patients or caregivers to assist in getting them to and from treatment appointments. On a larger scale, philanthropy has helped provide the Olcott team with a new space inside IU Health Bloomington at the Indiana University Regional Academic Health Center, and supports the work the nurse navigators do, at no cost to patients.
But really, Cornwell said, she’s the fortunate one. “Everyone seems to appreciate navigation. Having that praise, and having them tell you what you meant in their journey, and then having them get through their treatment and say, ‘I feel like I couldn’t have done this without you’ – that’s the best gift they can give me.”
Cornwell has her own thanks to share —she’s grateful for her team and their support, but she’s also appreciative of the IU Health Foundation.
“I have to also praise those, like the Foundation, that allow me to do my job. If it weren't for you, we would not have the resources we have to be able to do the things that we do. I want to just say thank you.”
To support nurse navigators like Cornwell, consider a gift to the IU Health Bloomington Olcott Nurse Navigators.