Defining the Role of the Oncology Nurse Navigator
Cancer is a challenging and often overwhelming disease. Oncology care requires a team of healthcare professionals, each playing an essential role in providing comprehensive support for the patient. The Oncology Care Model (OCM) 2.0 recognizes the importance of nurse navigators in providing personalized, patient-centered care.
Oncology Nurse Navigators (ONNs) bridge the gap between a patient’s primary care team and oncology specialists. They guide the cancer journey, from guiding patients through diagnosis and treatment to helping manage survivorship and end-of-life care.
Read on to learn more about the role and responsibilities of a navigator.
Who Is an Oncology Nurse Navigator?
Oncology nurse navigators are registered nurses who specialize in assisting cancer patients and their families with navigating the complex healthcare system. They play a vital role in helping to ensure that all aspects of patient care run smoothly, from diagnosis to treatment and survivorship.
These specialized nurses provide information on available services, support, and resources to help patients and their families cope with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. They may assist in obtaining a second opinion from an expert, coordinating patient care with various specialists, understanding financial issues related to cancer care, finding clinical trials or alternative treatments, and connecting patients with support groups and counselors.
Roles and Responsibilities of Oncology Nurse Navigators
Oncology care is a complex process and is often difficult to navigate. Oncology nurse navigators provide personalized care to patients with cancer, helping them every step of the way. Here are some of the responsibilities of an oncology nurse navigator:
1. Educating Patients
Cancer patients are often overwhelmed and confused, given the vast array of available treatments, protocols, and resources. Nurse navigators educate patients on all aspects of their cancer diagnosis, including potential treatments, research advances, lifestyle changes that could help, and other resources.
2. Emotional Support
Navigators provide emotional support to cancer patients and their families by helping them understand their diagnosis, cope with cancer treatments’ effects, and provide access to mental health support if needed. They can also help coordinate assistance from family members or hospice care if necessary.
3. Coordinating Care
Nurse navigators coordinate care between healthcare team members, such as primary care doctors, specialists, and nurses. They also help ensure that all treatments are covered by insurance and coordinate transportation services when necessary. This includes connecting patients with necessary community resources and helping them understand their health insurance coverage.
4. Track Metrics
Navigators also track metrics to measure the effectiveness of treatments and identify areas for improvement. They monitor patient outcomes, document details about care plans, and analyze data regularly to ensure that all patients receive the best possible care. They track patient progress, review scans for changes in disease status, and make sure that potential complications are addressed quickly. This helps ensure that all needed treatments and resources are available for each patient.
Call Guideway Care for the best oncology care navigator. We understand that navigating the complex world of cancer care is overwhelming, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we have experienced oncology nurse navigators who can provide assistance and support throughout your cancer journey.
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