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Riverwood welcomes new cancer patient navigator

jan-hegman-c-fnpNurse Practitioner Jan Hegman at Riverwood Healthcare Center has moved into a new role as oncology care coordinator, working closely with Dr. Antonio Fontelonga, oncologist, who sees patients weekly at Riverwood’s specialty clinic in Aitkin.

In this role, Hegman will serve as an advocate and patient educator, offering one-to-one support from the time of diagnosis through treatment and recovery, and eventually offer follow-up patient care. She will also oversee infusion care for patients receiving chemotherapy, prescribe medications as needed, and offer more of a day-to-day presence to enhance the oncology care for Riverwood patients.

“We are passionate about the care given to our patients with cancer,” said Cindi Baker, chief operating officer at Riverwood. “We feel that adding a nurse practitioner to our oncology team will give our patients a new level of comfort to navigate this journey. We are thrilled to welcome Jan, with her years of experience and commitment to Riverwood patients, to the cancer care coordinator role.”

Hegman has 13 years of clinic and hospital nursing experience, including medical/surgical, critical and emergency care. For the past three years as a family nurse practitioner, she has provided primary care plus wound, ostomy, and continence care and foot care. She earned her BS and MS degrees in nursing at the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth.

“Cancer has always been a special interest for me in my work caring for patients,” Hegman said. “I also have personal experience with cancer and am passionate about helping others on their journey, knowing how important it is to have someone guiding you through the treatment process. I look forward to being that personal navigator, helping patients explore treatment options, offering emotional support, and connecting them with resources.”

With an interest in alternative and holistic medicine, Hegman has training in clinical hypnosis, which can help to calm patients and ease anxiety and stress.

Hegman is a native of Aitkin and she and husband Jon have raised three sons and one daughter here. The family now includes six grandchildren.

In 2013, Riverwood’s cancer program, along with the one at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Crosby, received accreditation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS). As CoC-accredited cancer centers, both Riverwood and CRMC take a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care. Riverwood and CRMC have been partnering to provide oncology care since 2010, when they began offering oncology care services in affiliation with the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute®.