Consultant Spotlight: Janice Pagano, CTR – Quality Manager

Mar. 13, 2019

Janice serves as a data abstraction subject matter expert, ensuring data accuracy through quality control oversight, while keeping abreast of industry specific data collection rules and specification changes and providing ongoing education to her assigned data abstraction teams.

Prior to joining Registry Partners, Janice served as Cancer Registry Manager for Ocala Health in Florida, a Tumor Registry Supervisor for Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii and a Certified Tumor Registrar for Lakeland Hospital in Michigan.  Additionally, Janice has experience as a Referral Coordinator/Patient Liaison for Lakeside Cancer Specialists and has served as a Medical Lab Technician/Pathology Client Services Representative for Lakeland Hospital in Michigan.

Janice received her Associate of Applied Science degree from Ivy Tech State College in South Bend, Indiana and is a member of the National Cancer Registrars Association and Michigan Cancer Registrars Association having served as President and Corresponding Secretary.

Jane resides in Michigan and enjoys camping, traveling, photography, biking, bowling and cooking. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pets.

Q & A with Janice:

Q:  What advice would you give to other individuals considering a cancer registry career and pursuing their CTR?

A:  I always tell anyone interested in this career that being a CTR is one of the best kept secrets on earth.  Whenever anyone asks what I do for a living, the response is always the same, “I had no idea that was a thing.”  CTRs are in great demand right now because of the special skill set and knowledge required for this career, and the lack of awareness in communities that this career exists.  Opportunities abound, which means there is a wide variety of places to pick from regarding where want to work, whether it’s in a facility or remotely from home. Networking with other CTRs is essential in this line of work and it allows you to meet many interesting and intelligent people. I also tell people that no two days are ever the same for me.  For me, working as a CTR is like reading a good book, a different book, every day. It never feels like work.

Q:  What tips can you provide that may help a CTR improve their abstraction skills and become a more efficient abstractor?

A:  The key to abstracting is to glean the details and present them in a manner that gives the recipient of that information a complete picture of the case.  Asking the 5W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why) is essential. Become familiar with the manuals required for this job! Understanding how items are related to a specific disease process or why certain pieces of information are collected will allow you to focus on and pull the necessary information from the record as you read it. Ask questions if you get stuck.  Networking with other CTRs allows you to share tips and tricks with your colleagues. What is difficult for one person may be easier for another, so rely on each other’s strengths. Repetition reinforces your knowledge and ability. Recognize signs that you need a break. Sometimes it’s necessary to step away for a few minutes so you can come back refreshed!

Q:  How did you become interested in the CTR/Cancer Registry profession?

A:  I was working in a hospital pathology department and one of my duties was pulling slides and prepping cases for tumor board.  I also interacted with the registry staff to assist them with any pathology reports or staging questions. I continued to work with the registry as I moved to a position with an Oncology practice.  In my jobs in the medical profession, I found myself asking the same question over and over; “Okay, but what happens next….?” I saw that the registry looked at the whole cycle of a cancer patient’s journey, from initial presentation through workup, diagnosis, treatment, and then following them for their lifetime.  I was hooked – and when a spot opened in the hospital registry I jumped!