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What Is A Nurse Navigator? How Navigators Help Cancer Patients


Posted on 8/23/2011 by Cate Conroy

Image Courtesy WellSpan Health

Cancer patients face dozens of difficult and confusing decisions throughout their treatment.  What treatment approach is best?  Should I get a second opinion?  How am I going to pay for all of this?  Nurse navigators are a fast-growing group of professionals who help patients answer these critical questions.

Recently, this article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted this growing field and how they are helping patients make informed decisions.  So what is a nurse navigator?  Usually they are a professional nurse who helps patients literally navigate the health care system.

Being diagnosed with an illness, like cancer, is a major blow for anyone.  It is difficult enough to deal with the news of diagnosis, when you add on the responsibility of having to sort out appointments, determine the best course of treatment, and figure out how to tell all of your loved ones about the diagnosis, it can become overwhelming very quickly.  That is where navigators come in.  Nurse navigators act as advocates for their patients and help coordinate care while making the treatment process as easy as possible for their patients.

At GiveForward we want to applaud the WSJ for taking the time to recognize navigators and the critical role they play in the lives of those diagnosed with a serious illness.  But the Wall Street Journal isn’t the only one raising awareness of nurse navigators.

Groups like NCONN (National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators) provide a professional space for navigators to gather together and share what they have learned.  This year, GiveForward is honored to be speaking at NCONN’s annual conference, addressing ways that nurse navigators can provide their patients with the best ways to ask for help during a time of need.

But we aren’t the only ones who know how amazing nurse navigators are, so go on and share your favorite story about how a nurse navigator help you or your loved one!

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