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Written By: Devin Golden

Karen Ritter, RN, Mesothelioma Patient Advocate

Karen Ritter is a registered nurse navigator and patient advocate for Mesothelioma Guide. She leads patients and families through their cancer diagnosis of mesothelioma, explaining treatments and support options. Karen, known by many patients as Nurse Karen, joined Mesothelioma Guide in 2021.

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Get to Know Nurse Karen

Karen is a licensed registered nurse in South Carolina. She grew up in Merritt Island, Florida, and currently lives in South Carolina, working remotely as a registered nurse for Mesothelioma Guide.

She spends her personal time woodworking and building furniture for her and her husband’s house. Karen’s favorite outdoor activity is riding with her husband on their motorcycle, enjoying the appealing South Carolina weather and scenery. She has two adult children, who live in Central Florida, offering Karen a chance to return to her home state regularly.

Karen’s Experience With Cancer

Karen became interested in the nursing profession due to her own experiences with cancer. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 26. Being around the nursing staff inspired Karen to seek a career as a registered nurse. Within months of her surgery, she started prerequisite classes at Eastern Florida State College for her associate nursing degree.

As a patient advocate for Mesothelioma Guide, Karen communicates with patients and family members. Her top priority is connecting patients with treatment options, doctors, cancer centers and support resources. She’s available to answer any questions and guide mesothelioma victims through their diagnosis and cancer fight.

Contact Karen Ritter, RN

Karen Ritter, RN

Karen has a simple goal as a nurse: to help people. Dealing with mesothelioma can be complicated, but Karen can help simplify it by answering questions and explaining your options. You are not alone. Karen has the knowledge and passion to assist you.

Karen Can Help You:
  • Find a doctor or cancer center
  • Understand treatments and side effects
  • Join a recruiting clinical trial












Nurse Karen’s Work at Mesothelioma Guide

Karen’s journey to become a patient advocate is also rooted in personal experiences. In 2020, Karen’s mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. The family was assigned a nurse navigator, who Karen feels was not as communicative or helpful through her mom’s treatment journey.

Her mom passed away around Thanksgiving of 2020, and the negative experience with the nurse navigator inspired Karen to seek a career helping patients through their diagnosis.

“I wanted to be an advocate for people and help them in a way that my mom and my family didn’t receive,” she said.

After learning more about Mesothelioma Guide, she felt called to join the team as the newest patient advocate.

“After learning more about this cancer and how important a patient advocate can be,” she said, “I saw myself in this role helping people affected by this heartbreaking disease.”

Karen’s personal experience with cancer — both her own diagnosis and her mother’s fight — allows her to sympathize with mesothelioma patients. She understands that this diagnosis comes with questions, fears and financial struggles.

Karen’s most important goal is to provide patients and their loved ones with the knowledge and resources to feel confident and comfortable navigating a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Nurse Karen’s Experience and Education

Karen received her associate nursing degree in 1997 from Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa, Florida. In 2015, she went back to school to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Grand Canyon University.

She’s been a nurse for 25 years and is a member of multiple medical associations:

  • American Nurses Association
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Advocates

Karen began her medical career at the esteemed Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a nurse primarily for surgery patients from 1997-2000, when she returned home to Florida and joined the Merritt Island Medical Center staff.

After eight years working in Florida, she moved to South Carolina in 2008 when her husband had a job change. Karen joined the Spartanburg Regional Health Systems team and later joined the Surgery Center at Pelham.

Karen’s Favorite Part of Being a Nurse

After 24 years working in the hospital setting, Karen joined the Mesothelioma Guide staff in 2021. Her nursing experience includes:

  • Outpatient surgery
  • Pain management
  • Preoperative care
  • Postoperative care
  • Operating room circulator

Karen’s favorite part of being a nurse is connecting with patients and their loved ones. As a cancer survivor, she can empathize with patients. She prioritizes forming a close relationship with people struggling with a diagnosis.

“I laugh with my patients. I cry with my patients,” she said. “I want them to know I am with them through this journey.”

Sources & Author

Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.