Sarah Nolinwinkler, Breast Cancer Care Navigator, is pictured here with the QMG Mammography and Ultrasound teams.

For Quincy Medical Group, the battle against breast cancer is a collective effort. From screening to diagnosis to treatment, a patient’s journey is one not taken alone. There is a team of people behind them.

Among those is Sarah Nolinwinkler, Breast Care Navigator with the Care Management team at Quincy Medical Group (QMG). Nolinwinkler steps into the lives of patients who have just received a breast biopsy, navigating them through their care with compassion and empathy. Her role goes beyond the professional; it’s a heartfelt commitment to her patients during a time of uncertainty.

In her words, “I ensure that the patient footprint is strategically coordinated through timely consultations and a collaborative approach with their care team. My goal is to remove some of the fear by being a familiar face in their journey, someone to lean in on when there are more questions than answers.”

Nolinwinkler collaborates with the patient’s care team to ensure each patient’s healthcare journey is well-coordinated. This begins with the Mammography and Ultrasound teams at QMG, who assist patients through screening and diagnosis.

After a breast cancer diagnosis is confirmed, she reviews the patient’s medical records and works hand in hand with the Oncology care team, making sure they have all the information needed for informed decision-making and care planning. After everything is in place, she works closely with the Patient Scheduler to set up timely consultations for the patient. Upon arrival to the Cancer Institute, patients will meet their Oncology Nurse Navigator for a smooth transition in their healthcare journey.

A cancer diagnosis and the subsequent journey can be overwhelming, and Nolinwinker is there as an extension of the patient’s healthcare team, available to both patients and their loved ones as a resource.

“The intricacy of navigating healthcare can be daunting in itself, but to then add in the word ‘cancer’ and life changes. I believe that every patient should have someone walking alongside them during a time of uncertainty and fear,” she shared. I hope to be the light for our patients when theirs might be a little dim, and that is precisely why serving in this role is important to me.”

For Nolinwinkler, this role is more than just a profession: it’s a calling. She firmly believes that every patient deserves a companion during the moments of uncertainty and fear that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis.

She shared, “As a woman, a mother, and a nurse navigator, I meet patients and their loved ones where they are in their journey of life, in hopes of developing trust and a safe space for them to be human in this process.  I may not truly understand exactly how they feel, as I’ve never walked a day in their shoes, but I certainly can empathize with their hearts.”