What is a Nurse Navigator?

A Nurse Navigator is an essential member of our Breast Center Team who provides ongoing guidance and support to cancer patients and their loved ones. Their role is to actively accompany the patient through every step of their cancer journey in order to provide them with information to make the best possible decision about treatment choices.


Cathy Cole plays a vital role to our Breast Cancer Program as our Nurse Navigator. Through her education and experience she offers our patients knowledge and expertise that benefit them through their journey as a patient with us. Her academic interests include early detection strategies with breast imaging, clinical skill building in breast examination and community health outreach. She appears in the 6th edition of Who’s Who in American Nursing.

Cathy completed her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Nurse Practitioner training in Women’s Health from Harbor-UCLA and her Master’s degree from CSU, Northridge in Community Health Education. She is certified in health education, clinical breast examination and nurse navigation. Her comprehensive background in breast health includes work with UCLA in mobile mammography services, Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento, CA in provider education and in breast cancer and standardized clinical skill development, and the City of Hope Women’s Center as part of a multidisciplinary breast care team.

Cathy is a member of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Public Health Association and the National Consortium of Breast Centers. She serves on the Boards of the American Cancer Society of the Silicon/Coastal Region, the Advisory Board of the Conejo Free Clinic and the National Consortium of Breast Centers where she also chairs the Clinical Breast Examination Committee. She was recently honored with other colleagues in receiving the 2012 NCBC Impact Award for the creation of educational videos in breast health for men and women. Cathy has authored a number of publications and delivered oral presentations around the country with regard to breast cancer, survivorship issues and breast center development.

Laura Zempel RN, MSW, CHPN

Laura Zempel our Palliative Care Nurse expert is a great addition to the Breast Cancer Program team. In 1983 she received her ADN degree in Nursing from Pierce College and graduated in 2003 from CSUN, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. In order to further her education she received her Master’s degree in Social Work from USC in 2008 and in 2011 she received her National certification in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing.

Laura worked as a cardiac nurse from 1983 to 2009, in CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit) caring for open heart surgery patients and all medical and surgical patients requiring intensive care. After getting her MSW, she worked per-diem as a medical social worker, while still working in CVICU as an RN. In 2009, she helped start the Palliative Care program at Providence Tarzana Hospital, and joined Los Robles Regional Medical Center in 2012 as a key player in our Palliative Care Program.