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After a cancer patient dies, we commonly are no longer in touch with the family beyond that of offering our condolences. Several months later, however, is when the true financial picture of what the loved one’s end-of-life expenses really were.

As a navigator, it’s important to set learning and improvement goals, and identify and perform learning activities that address one’s gaps in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities.

Thank you for the tremendous response to the call for how navigators interact around tumor boards. The information progressed from those who are developing their role around this function to the very experienced member.

In the latter part of each year, employees are asked to make decisions about the health insurance benefits they wish to select for the coming calendar year. Rarely does someone say, “Gee, I am planning to get cancer this year so I want to be sure to choose carefully which health plan benefit I want.”
The next several months are the peak time of year when people will be exposed to the sun. As such, navigators can help get the word out about prevention efforts against this potentially deadly form of skin cancer.
Navigators have a critical role in highlighting system bottlenecks and health care inefficiencies. At the GW Cancer Center, largely due to patient navigators speaking up, a policy advocacy effort was prioritized to improve access to chemotherapy for Medicaid patients.
We’ve all been there. The number of patients you are expected to navigate keeps increasing without more resources being provided to help you do it well. Simply telling your supervisor that you can’t keep up won’t cut it; nor will saying you need more help. Instead, measure what you are doing by developing an acuity scale for the patient populations you navigate.
A special thank you to the thoracic nurse navigators who came forward to create the thoracic certification examination. It is a sign of professional commitment and growth to volunteer for a task that will help one review their profession as well as learn something new such as test question development.
One aspect navigators should consider learning is how to communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public to build trusting relationships across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
All too often cancer centers decide to hire either oncology nurse navigators or hire patient navigators. What would be best for the center and patients is a blending of both professionals. This model of having a nurse and a lay patient navigator can work very well--as long as each of these navigators function within their scope of training, skills, credentialing, and practice requirements.
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