A wife, mother and registered nurse at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC), she still finds time to strum the acoustic guitar and perform with her band, the Gurley Girls. In fact, Jen took up the guitar because the band already had a piano player. Today, she writes songs for the Gurley Girls, using her guitar as she composes.
In addition to songwriting and performing, Jen’s adventuresome spirit also has inspired her to delve deep into outdoor activities—camping, hiking and kayaking.
“My husband and I are cavers,” she said. “It’s an unconventional hobby, but we love it.”
The couple have explored off-path caves near Payson, Peach Springs and Tucson. They belong to a local cavers’ group that has been tapped by property owners in the Grand Canyon Caverns – the largest dry caverns in the U.S. – to explore wild caves before they open for public tours.
Even with a recreational resume like this, Jen points to parenting as her most fulfilling adventure. Her nursing career also is a source of satisfaction.
Originally, Jen intended to pursue a career as a musician or a writer. But, during her freshman year in college she lost her younger brother to bone cancer. This experience led to nursing school with the goal of working with cancer patients. That changed after Jen earned her degree and went to work as a cardiac nurse, where she thrived for many years.
Fast forward to 2017, when Jen learned about YRMC’s new Lung Cancer Screening and Care Program. She was thrilled the program’s low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening had the potential to tremendously increase survival rates for people diagnosed with lung cancer. Also appealing to Jen was the opportunity for public education and to work with individual patients.
“Patient contact is what fills my bucket.”
And these days, there is plenty of that happening in Jen’s world. As Patient Navigator for YRMC’s Lung Cancer Screening and Care Program, she educates patients about LDCT, a painless screening exam that can detect lung cancer early, when it’s most treatable.
“My goal during the first meeting is to connect with people as human beings,” explained Jen. “That’s important because this is not a one year and you’re done program. I want patients to feel comfortable reaching out to me with their questions or concerns.”
To be eligible for the annual Medicare-sponsored LDCT screening, people must be free of cancer symptoms. Participants are between the ages of 55-77 (up to age 80 with private insurance) and are:
A past smoker who quit less than 15 years ago; or
A heavy smoker averaging one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years.
Interested in learning more about YRMC’s Lung Cancer Screening and Care Program? Talk to your primary care physician, call (928) 771-5454, or visit us online at bit.ly/yrmc-lungcare.
Jen will be happy to help you or someone you love keep inhaling life.