Welcome to the must-read guide that explains everything about the Nurse Navigator career.
Are you interested in helping patients through their cancer journey?
You will need to know the skills, job description, and competency courses required to pursue a future as a Nurse Navigator.
This article covers:
Let’s get started on what a Nurse Navigator does and more!
Sickness is draining psychologically, materially, and financially, and everybody wants a helping hand during this period, especially the unwell.
The situation can be even direr if the sick person has a chronic illness due to its fair share of challenges, for example, breast cancer, lung cancer, or Alzheimer’s.
Patient care in such a scenario is not a mere one-time follow-up; it requires a care plan focused on increasing the patient’s survivorship rates and mental journey.
The Navigator Nurse comes in handy to support and care for the patient at such moments.
What is a Nurse Navigator?
A Nurse Navigator is a professional Medical Practitioner who offers a sense of bearing and purpose to patients.
Their services are becoming more important today because they assist the sick and their families.
They make it easier to access quality care by breaking the traditional barriers to proper health care.
Their roles revolve around advocating for better health care needs.
They provide a mental and psychosocial connection between the sick and Medical Practitioners.
They have contributed significantly to the treatment and support of oncology health needs.
As a result of complex complications involved in oncology health care, this specialty ensures that patients access the necessary services and easily navigate medical procedures.
The backing of these Health Practitioners has extended to other health disciplines.
Individuals suffering from varying medical conditions can get the support and the necessary care.
Nurse Navigator Job Description
The duties and responsibilities of Navigation Nurses may differ according to a patient’s needs, the experience of the care team, or their work environment.
Even so, the basic principles guiding this practice are the same.
Their main aim is to advocate for better health, educate clients about their ailments, and outline the treatment plan.
The general roles of a Nurse Navigator include areas listed below:
- Working closely with Physicians, Researchers, and Community Health Officers to address challenges and develop solutions to common problems in civic health
- Inform patients on what their illnesses entail and how to manage the conditions better through the available management methods – Nurse Navigators are experts owing to their vast experience and know-how; hence, you can rely on them to provide accurate information about different medical conditions
- They also enlighten the patients about the possible side effects of the prescribed medications and possible alternatives
- Monitoring the symptoms; the Nurse Navigator connects other practitioners to patients and their families
- They keep tabs on the patient’s conditions and record any changes in order to raise concern if they notice anything far from the ordinary
- Avail necessary resources including and not limited to test results, consultations, and insurance documents, and inform the patient of possible community resources available
- Making referrals where they feel that the care provided is not sufficient – When a patient is not doing so well emotionally, and despite the nurse’s efforts, the distress continues, they can refer a patient to a Social Worker or Counselor
- Advocate for other needs of patients such as child care, housing, finances, and transportation
- Ensure the patient or her family has full accessibility to information and documents
How to become a Nurse Navigator
Look for an accredited institution offering your preferred course and commence your career journey.
By looking at your schedule or lifestyle, you can either opt for an on-campus program and attend full-time classes or an online program and study remotely at your convenience.
You can become a Nurse by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (AND).
However, a BSN appeals more to employers and would be the right pick if you fancy administrative roles.
To qualify as a Nurse Navigator, tangible practice in a clinical setting is paramount.
Experience can be attained in several healthcare settings such as hospitals, long-term healthcare facilities, and nursing homes.
Departments such as the intensive care units and Geriatric Nursing involve a lot of nursing duties for different medical situations.
They offer a unique opportunity to polish your nursing skills through valuable nursing exposure under the guidance of seasoned practitioners.
Certification in this discipline is only given to Nurse Navigators looking after Oncology patients.
RN Navigator Jobs
Oncology Nurse Navigators
These are Specialized Medical Caregivers who manage the care given to oncology patients.
They avail support to the family and help them overcome the customary barriers in health care systems.
That way, cancer patients can access quality and timely cancer care throughout their treatment.
Perinatal Nurse Navigators
A Perinatal Navigator is a support system that every expectant mother should have in their corner.
They are trained specialists in healthcare who focus on assisting expectant mothers to overcome the challenges of pregnancy and giving birth.
This discipline also looks after the needs of mothers who have complicated pregnancies from conception to delivery.
They aid in devising sustainable plans and make sure that there are coordinated efforts to avail the necessary care to obstetric patients and their unborn infants.
The plan brings to light areas of focus depending on the patient.
These areas include:
- Pain management
- Storage of the umbilical cord
- Postpartum care
Perinatal Nurse Navigators also help mothers whose infants have been diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis of fetal anomalies.
Telehealth Nurse Navigators
Telehealth Nursing is the application of telecommunication technology by Registered Nurses to provide quality health care services to patients.
They are a welcome relief to patients in need of specialized care but with no access to a specialist.
Telehealth Nurse Navigators use video calls, email, phone, and messaging apps like Whatsapp to provide care to remote patients.
The practice is likened to what was traditionally referred to as counseling through the phone.
Technological advancements have made it easier for Telehealth Nurses to reach patients and interact with them faster and more conveniently.
Surgical Nurse Navigator
Patient satisfaction has become a fundamental aspect of medical field research.
This has raised bars in almost all medical fields, surgery included.
It is said that surgical patients who are satisfied with their treatment happen to recover quicker and faster.
Therefore, addressing patient satisfaction inside and outside the theater has become necessary in surgical practice development.
Surgical Nurse Navigators play a crucial role in the process.
They possess the ability to highlight essential areas that can make a difference in the process and interrogate deficiencies in those areas.
Today, their role revolves around making the experience easier for a surgical patient by linking with the appropriate healthcare professionals and navigating through the surgical process.
Cardian Nurse Navigator
These are resourceful Health Professionals who offer support, comfort, and guidance to patients with a heart problem or undergoing a heart procedure.
They coordinate your treatment to ensure you receive the best possible care and results.
The Nurse Navigators help to improve the overall patient experience and increase the likelihood of patients following up on their treatment.
This can save many lives and decrease death and readmissions to hospitals.
The Nurses explain to patients what to expect concerning side effects, thus, preparing them psychologically for the treatment and possible outcomes.
Skills required for a Patient Navigator
Taking care of ailing people is demanding and can be overpowering for friends and loved ones; this is often the case even with support groups in place.
To successfully offer support and afford the much-needed link to better health attention, the Nurse Navigators should possess the following skills:
The Nurse should comprehend how systems work in a health care setting.
That way, they can successfully assist patients in breaking barriers that would have otherwise derailed their access to medical care.
This understanding often comes through experience and comprehensive patient education.
You will be tasked with decoding complex material and passing it on to patients in a language they understand.
You must be able to collect raw data, do a sound analysis, and make well-informed decisions.
The job puts Navigation Nurses in a position where they have to interact with many people from different departments.
Serving in a Nurse Navigator role might require working with a multidisciplinary team.
As a vital link between the involved stakeholders, you are required to relay an open, reliable, and responsive message.
Navigation Nurses keep records of the patient’s journey through healthcare from the day he came to consult up until discharge.
They must possess strong organizational skills to propose and facilitate meetings among physicians and patients.
Patients differ in several ways.
Compassion pushes you to offer care without minding the nature or status of the patients.
It also goes a long way in enhancing their mental health and helping them to feel cared for.
Like in all other nursing disciplines, it is fundamental to uphold a patient’s confidentiality.
Consider the sensitivity of cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment plans.
Privacy must be maintained concerning a patient’s condition, records, and any sensitive information shared.
Through experience and additional education in specialty-related fields, Navigation Nursing can open up career growth opportunities.
To practice as a Navigation Nurse, you need years of practical experience. Thus, it is not an entry-level job.
Routes for growth include taking up administration and leadership duties.
Improving your on-job capabilities and advancing in education through a master’s degree opens the door to becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.
Under this canopy, one may choose to become a Nurse Practitioner or a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Such titles come with the authority to oversee other Nurses, diagnose, and recommend treatment measures.
You will require a Master of Nursing Science (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to elevate to those high-level roles.
Nurse Navigators can find work in different environments.
They can offer private services to clients in their private homes or health care facilities.
Irrespective of where they work, they have made a mark in the health care discipline.
Through their efforts, patients have received proper and satisfactory care.
More and more healthcare facilities require Nurse Navigators as they begin to realize the value of these Nurses.
Because of their work, families are now more educated about proper health care tendencies, which help them look after their sick flawlessly.