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Commonly when a breast cancer nurse navigator is educating and supporting a patient, the time period is focused on the point of diagnosis through their acute treatment. How do we really know if the patients, now as survivors, believe the right decisions were made regarding treatment options? How do we know they felt the decisions were made with their active input? Were they confident in their choices?
One of the dilemmas navigators experience—being able to plan their time well, as well as to explain to others in designated blocks of time how their time is allocated on a given day or throughout a given week. Some time measurement is easy—3 hours spent conducting a community outreach event, for example.
As nurse navigators, we rely on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines to help us direct patients to optimal treatment. A recent use of the guidelines by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) supported the institution on a decision to NOT offer the latest drug for advanced colorectal cancer.
When we are discussing minorities, we are usually referring to African American, Hispanic/Latino, and the American Indian/Alaska Natives in our society. In addition, underserved women are those who have a decreased income and socioeconomic status, lower education levels, commonly lack health insurance, and have limited access to healthcare in general. These patient populations are particularly challenging when facing the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
March 21, 2013 | Articles & White Papers
One of the roles of a nurse navigator is to be aware of breaking news that creates headlines and can cause alarm to your patient population. With the pace of electronic technology in the media, it is not possible to catch all of the latest events; however, patients should be encouraged to call and discuss any items that cause concern.
A consistent worry or concern that is shared among navigators is the measurement of what navigators do on a daily basis. The excuse that “we are just nurses” is not acceptable. Nurses assess, plan, implement and evaluate on a daily basis so navigators can do the same. A navigation assessment/evaluation/measure can demonstrate the benefit of the program to the organization and demonstrate value.
Navigators are surrounded by metrics every day. The following examples are taken from the session at the Third Annual Navigation and Survivorship Conference titled Navigation in the Age of Personalized Cancer Care.
When planting my feet on the ground after my daughter’s wedding, I was blindsided with the news from my sister that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She found out the week of the wedding but chose not to tell me until after the wedding festivities were completed. (3 days after the wedding)
Pick up an oncology journal, attend national meetings…one will hear the term medical home. No, it is not a physical place for medical staff to retire and enjoy the golden years. It is a model of care that is “valued based”. Payers, insurance companies, are sending the message to the oncology world that the high cost of cancer care must be addressed.
As summer approaches with plans for vacations, long weekends or quieter evenings, it is interesting to see and hear what colleagues have on their “to read” list.
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