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Patient Navigators

The patient navigators at NCH offer support, guidance and education, from diagnosis and treatment options to obtaining timely appointments and care. They act as a proactive link between physicians and patients.

Our patient navigators understand the anxiety our patients experience when they are diagnosed with cancer and are preparing for or receiving treatment. They are here to offer compassionate support and professional guidance.

Your patient navigator is a resource who can be with you every step of the way, assisting with whatever you might need, including emotional support, coordination of appointments, answering questions and providing assistance with other resources you might need. Their goal is to make your diagnosis and treatment as patient-friendly as possible.


Types of Patient Navigators


Breast Patient Navigators

Heidi Wiltse
RN, BSN, OCN, ONN-CG
Breast Center Manager
Breast Cancer Screenings
847.618.7431

Heidi Wiltse, RN, BSN, OCN, ONN-CG, leads the NCH Breast Center as the Breast Center Manager. Heidi earned her nursing degree from University of Michigan and came to Northwest Community Hospital with more than 25 years of experience as a Registered Nurse, with a focus in Oncology. She has worked inpatient oncology, outpatient chemotherapy infusion, research analyst in Phase I Oncology Clinical Trials and has been an oncology nurse navigator for more than 10 years.

Heidi’s passion is caring for those who have received a cancer diagnosis by providing them with support, education and comfort throughout their treatment journey and beyond. Heidi is an advocate for her patients and their families. She is focused on empowering her patients with strength and courage at a potentially difficult time.


Sarah Butler
RN, BSN
Breast Patient Navigator
Breast Cancer Screenings
847.618.5904

Sarah Butler, RN, BSN earned her nursing certification from Grand Canyon University. Sarah has worked at Northwest Community Hospital for more than 12 years, currently serving as a breast patient navigator. Other positions at NCH include surgical services operation specialist and circulating nurse in the operating room, the clinical unit leader in the post-surgical orthopedic unit, and acute care staff nurse. Sarah says, “I am here to be a constant for my patients throughout the course of their journey, ensuring they receive seamless and coordinated care. I can serve as their ‘go-to’ person, here to answer questions, reinforce patient education, ease anxiety and help eliminate any barriers that might impede their care.”


Tracey Martin
RN, BSN
Breast Patient Navigator
Breast Cancer Screenings
847.618.5905

Tracey Martin RN, BSN earned her nursing degree from University of Iowa. In addition to her current role as Nurse Navigator in the Breast Care Center, Tracey has been an RN at NCH for 30 years. She most recently served as both a circulating and charge nurse in the Main Operating Room.

“My goal is to provide highly individualized care for each patient during their cancer journey and beyond. I want to empower patients by providing comprehensive education and communication. It is my privilege to ensure timely access to cancer treatment as well as emotional support for patients and their families.”


Colorectal Patient Navigator

Brenda O’Brien
RN, BSN
Colorectal Patient Navigator
Colonoscopy Cancer Screenings
847.618.6596

Brenda O’Brien, RN has been with NCH for more than 23 years, with 21 of those as a gastrointestinal nurse working in admitting, procedure rooms and recovery areas. She also worked with our interventional pulmonologists, assisting with lung procedures.

Brenda’s main focus is patient health and comfort level during a difficult diagnosis. “Clear communication, follow-up and just holding my patient’s hand will hopefully help them feel that they are a priority and truly cared for,” she says. “The support and resources available to our patients require a care team that has the same focus. Our team puts our patients first, every step of the way.”


Lung Cancer Patient Navigator
Magna Colta

Juli Aistars
APRN, TTS
Lung Patient Navigator
Lung Cancer Screenings
847.618.6572

Juli Aistars, APRN, TTS, has 40+ years of experience in oncology nursing, including: inpatient, radiation oncology, as a previous navigator for the Prostate Cancer Program and current navigator for the Lung Cancer Program, and as a facilitator for lung screening.

Juli implemented the Lung Cancer Navigation Program and the Smoking Cessation Program at NCH in 2010.

Juli is so passionate about her patients that she started the Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer 5K Race/Walk to raise funds for lung cancer patients at NCH who have financial hardships. The fund helps with rent, mortgage, household bills or food while they are undergoing treatment. The event takes place each Fall.


Pancreatic Cancer Patient Navigator

Nicole Nichols
RN, BSN
Pancreatic Patient Navigator
Pancreatic Cancer Screening
847-618-2790

Nicole Nichols, RN, BSN has proudly worked at NCH since 2004 with experience in inpatient post-surgical and outpatient surgical oncology. She has been an integral part of the Pancreas Center since 2011 and currently serves as the Pancreas Nurse Navigator guiding patients and their families through the pre and post-operative phases of care. She is currently pursuing an advanced practice nursing degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

“Having experienced the devastating effects of cancer in my own family, I am privileged to navigate patients and their families during this difficult time in their lives. My goal as a Nurse Navigator is to provide excellent patient-centered care through communication, education and emotional support.”


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