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March 29, 2013
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Nurse Advocacy Program expands to breast imaging center

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate University Hospital nurse Debra Malay takes on many roles, but that of nurse advocate at Upstate’s Breast Imaging Center is closest to her heart.

Malay created the RN Advocacy Program at the imaging center more than two years ago to offer patients a more “personal touch” in a clinical setting. The program has since evolved into a patient- and family-centered advocacy program that offers a full spectrum of services to the center’s patients. The Breast Imaging Center is located at 550 Harrison Center in Syracuse.

Malay based the program on the role of a “navigator,” health care professionals who guide patients through their health care experiences, sometimes over a lifetime.

“Before our advocacy program, nursing was not represented among the team performing the imaging procedures,” said Malay. “Our managers realized that there was a need for nursing representation to assess and to monitor the patients.”

As a nurse advocate, Malay provides one-on-one nursing care for each patient who comes into the imaging center. She also meets with the patients and their families, reviews their history and physicals, and coordinates their care with radiologists and technicians. “I am with each patient in the procedure room from beginning to end, giving them their discharge instructions, meeting with the families post-procedure and following up with phone calls to inquire on their well-being.”

Malay adds that she has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients for the role she provides. “I truly believe that the nursing advocate role reflects the best that nurses have to offer—our presence and our hearts. I believe it is truly an honor to bring the art of nursing to each of my patients.”

Caption: Debra Malay, RN, BSN, right, with mammographer Julie Bird, RTRM, in front of the 3D-mammography machine at Upstate’s Breast Imaging Center.

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