Best-Practice BSE at Mercy Suburban Hospital

Polly-Sacco-Ezzell-RN-6981-1Polly Sacco Ezzell, BSN, RN, OCN offers gold-standard breast self-exam (BSE) instruction at Mercy Suburban Hospital’s Breast Center. Her program is the only one of its kind in the region, training women individually to perform the scientifically validated technique for BSE. Ezzell trains women in the MammaCare Method, which uses tactually accurate breast models to teach fingers what to feel for.

As she prepared to transition into the role of Breast and GYN Nurse Navigator in 2012, Ezzell sought out training to help her teach women best-practice BSE. The experienced nurse had taken care of surgical patients, delivered chemotherapy, and focused on women’s health but this new role required her to have an incredibly extensive understanding of breast cancer screening and education.

“I signed up for training from MammaCare and EduCare and these two resources really jump-started me for the role of educator and counselor,” said Ezzell. “MammaCare made the learning enjoyable, so it was easy to remember.” She praised the comprehensive resources provided in the MammaCare BSE Instructor training. “I keep the lump chart on my desk,” she says, “… I tell women that every month we have at least one woman come in with that golf ball-sized lump.”

BSE training at Mercy Suburban has been supported by decision-makers at the hospital. “Mercy Suburban’s Oncology Program Administrator Robert DiDomenico made sure we had a private exam room with all the materials we need for complete BSE training,” remarked Ezzell. Women who have done the one-on-one training with her are excited to continue developing their skills, and she makes sure they have access to the tactually accurate breast models for practice. One woman who learned BSE from Ezzell said, “Just had my MammaCare training this morning and it was amazing … I feel so much more confident than before the class.”

Ezzell is reaching out the community to offer introductory training sessions. These large-group teachings can reach more women at once, whom she hopes will then come into her office for the best-practice one-on-one training. Ezzell is currently working with a local women’s fitness studio, encouraging health-conscious women to make appointments to learn MammaCare and expand their wellness routines to include regular MammaCare BSE.

To read more about Polly Sacco Ezzell’s work at Mercy Suburban, click here.

Article contributed by Kaitlin M. Hanan, MPH, CMS

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