What is a Nurse Navigator?
A Nurse Navigator is a specially trained Clinical Nurse Specialist who meets with patients recently diagnosed with colon, rectal, or anal cancer to support and navigate through the complexities of the health care system; educate about the disease process and treatments; answer questions; coordinate care through all phases of treatment; and provide follow-up recommendations. They serve as a patient advocate and liaison between Medical Oncology, Colorectal Surgery, and Radiation Therapy. Their goal is is to remove all identifiable barriers to comprehensive patient care, while providing a seamless transition from one specialty to another.
Nurse navigators work hand-in-hand with the physician, and have been described as "way-finders," helping patients navigate the complex corridors of cancer care with its many-faceted array of specialists, diagnostic tests and therapies, as well as the inherent physical, emotional, financial, cultural and spiritual challenges that often come with a diagnosis of cancer.
Similar to a travel consultant, Nurse Navigators help patients get to where they need to go with the minimum amount of hassles, confusion, and detours. One of our patients described her experience with a Nurse Navigator as "the difference between using a tour guide for your vacation planning versus going it alone. You’ll get to your destination either way, but your experience can be very different."