When a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, the multidisciplinary Intermountain Healthcare oncology team develops a personalized cancer plan.
Part of that plan is an oncology nurse navigator, a nurse who will help “navigate” the patient and their family through all the medical and social services available, information, and education that can sometimes be overwhelming during a cancer journey.
An oncology nurse navigator is a professional nurse with oncology-specific clinical knowledge who specializes in caring for people with cancer. They communicate with patients and their families helping them understand the disease, their treatment plan, and coordination of care – maximizing quality and patient safety.
What help does an Oncology Nurse Navigator provide?
- Explains treatment options
- Can coordinate tests and appointments
- Help provide management of medication
- Discusses the emotional impact of the disease
- Reinforces patient education on treatment decisions/processes
- Informs patients about clinical trial availability
- Helps facilitate communication between all members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the patient’s family
- Promotes collaboration in cancer treatment
- Provides a personal touch and individualized approach in assessing patient’s needs
- Serves as a support for patients – being available to answer questions
- Links patients to support groups and other valuable resources
The Intermountain oncology nurse navigators also collaborate with clinical areas and providers to ensure the best quality care in a timely and caring way for patients. The nurse navigators, together with the multidisciplinary team, promote continuity of care while navigating the cancer continuum.
Patient navigation is not new but is gaining prominence, to the extent that it’s often now a requirement for major oncology accreditation.
These requirements are not the only reason nurse navigator programs are growing across the country. Studies have also proven the clinical benefits, which include increased screening rates, reduced broken appointments, more timely follow-ups, and overall improvements in patient satisfaction.
For more information about oncology nurse navigators and Intermountain Healthcare’s Cancer Center programs, visit their website.
This article contains sponsored content.