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Chelsey Bushey Understands that Great Patient Care Comes In Many Forms

Chelsey makes a difference every day.

Cancer Peer Educator Chelsey Bushey knows that there are truly many ways to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people we serve.

She’s been part of the CVPH team for a little over 5 years working first as a Transporter and later, as a Clinical Assistant. Both positions allowed her to share her compassion and kindness and gave her the opportunity to assist patients when they needed it most.  “I love patient care – helping people,” Chelsey said.

So the decision to move to another role within the organization was not an easy one. “I was nervous about being too far removed from direct patient care.” The move to the Breast and Prostate Cancer Peer Education Project was based on Chelsey’s interest in growing professionally while finding the right work-life balance.

It wasn’t long after she settled into this job however that realized the difference Cancer Peer Educators can make. Much of her work revolves around community outreach and education. “We work with community agencies; attend health fairs and reach out to specific segments of the community to help educate about breast and prostate cancer,” she said.  Education about risk factors, screening guidelines and available resources are some of the key messages she shares.

It was at a health fair at the JCEO Food Pantry in Plattsburgh that Chelsey met a woman who explained to her that she had found a lump in her breast but had not had a mammogram. “After hearing her story, I worked with her to set up a screening mammogram. The mammogram confirmed the presence of a lump,” Chelsey explained.  “She had no family here and the radiologist wanted to do a biopsy (to determine whether or not it was cancerous). I helped her get that set up too.”

Chelsey could have easily considered her job complete. The woman was in the good hands of the radiologist and our Women’s Imaging Center. But understanding that this could very well be a difficult time in her new friend’s life, she made arrangements to accompany her to the procedure.

 “I waited in the waiting room while she had the procedure done.  I couldn’t let her go through it alone. And in the end, she did get good news.”  The biopsy revealed that there was no cancer, however, she would need follow up screenings, according to Chelsey.

“Our program gets the word out about what’s available to people who are in need. We work closely with the Cancer Services Program that provides breast, cervical and colon cancer screening to those who don’t have insurance or are under insured.  Education and support makes a difference, too.  We can give them information about risk factors and signs and symptoms. We can also help them get the care they need and for those eligible, it’s free,” Chelsey explained. For those who interact with Peer Educators like Chelsey, they benefit from having a shoulder to lean on and a helping hand when they need one.

Chelsey says that the experience reinforces what she has always felt to be true, “I think it goes to show that one person can really help another person just by taking the time to be there for them.”