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A diagnosis of cancer can feel overwhelming. That’s why Thompson Cancer Survivor Center offers our patients a personal Oncology Nurse Navigator to walk with them every step of the way.


 “I think one of the unique and absolutely strong parts of the Thompson program is this glue that holds everything together from the team approach, and to me, that is nurse navigation.Dr. Grant Clark, Radiation Oncologist. 

What is an Oncology Nurse Navigator

At Thompson, an oncology nurse navigator is a vital member of your cancer care team. These nurses are specially trained and experienced in cancer care. From initial diagnosis and throughout treatment, your oncology nurse navigator will guide you with education, help with medical team communication, and ensure you understand your tests and procedures. Your navigator will also be available to help you manage the side effects of treatment and offer support and encouragement along the way.


 “As nurse navigators, our role is to try to answer any questions patients have and when the provider is there we can make sure that all the patients’ questions are answered.    I want to be the person that can remove barriers so that the patient can focus only on healing.” TCSC Oncology Nurse Navigator Lawana Evans, RN, BSN, ONN-CG


What can an Oncology Nurse Navigator do: 

  • Help you understand your diagnosis and treatment options
  • Provide education so that you can make informed choices
  • Coordinate care with your medical team to relieve the emotional burden that often comes with a cancer diagnosis
  • Enhance your communication with your physicians and other care providers
  • Ensure your questions and concerns are successfully answered 
  • Advocate for you and stand by you through your cancer journey 


 “I am consistently impressed with this team of incredible individuals. Their determination to serve our patients well, whether by investing in their own continuing education or by going above and beyond to help the patient find needed resources, attests to their passion for their calling. They truly bless the lives of those they touch.Debbie Bowles, System Director of Cancer Support Services


Thompson Cancer Survival Center Oncology Nurse Navigators:

Position     /    Name

Primary Location:

Any Specific Areas of Focus:

System Director of Cancer Support Services TCSC –  
Debbie Bowles    
Supervisor and Oncology Nurse Navigator TCSC –  
Shila Newman, RN, OCN, ONN-CG       Knoxville Downtown Head & Neck, malignant hematology
Oncology Nurse Navigators    
Kathy Backus, LPN       Knoxville Downtown Rectal Cancer Program Coordinator
Lucy Davis, RN, BSN, OCN, ONN-CG       Knoxville Downtown GI (colorectal, pancreatic)
Lawana Evans, RN, BSN, ONN-CG       Oak Ridge Breast, Lung
Lora Fout, RN, OCN, ONN-CG       Knoxville West Breast
Natalie Garcia, RN       Oak Ridge Head & Neck, GI
Karen Gentile, RN, BSN, OCN       Knoxville Downtown Chest/Lung
Jodi Haney, RN, OCN, ONN-CG       Knoxville West All sites
Teresa King, RN, OCN       Sevier, Blount All sites
Susan Rutherford, RN, BSN, CN-BN, OCN       Knoxville Downtown Breast
Beverly Sutton, RN, OCN       Lenoir City, Knoxville West All sites
Melisa Williams, RN, OCN, ONN-CG       Knoxville Downtown Oral Chemotherapy – all sites and hematological disorders
Department Assistant    
Angelia Reese       Knoxville Downtown  
Cancer Conference / Patient Housing Coordinator    
Wanda L. Witt       Knoxville Downtown  


Meet Your Oncology Nurse Navigators

Kathy Backus
Lucy Davis
Lawana Evans
Lora Fout
Natalie Garcia

Karen Gentile

Jodi Haney
Teresa King
Shila Newman
Susan Rutherford
Beverly Sutton
Melisa Williams