Trinity CancerCare Center: Patient Navigation
The patient navigation program at Trinity CancerCare puts the patient at the center of the cancer treatment focus. The Trinity CancerCare navigation program consists of a nurse and a social worker.
The nurse navigator is a registered nurse who is specialized in the care of the cancer patient. The nurse navigator provides education, orientation to treatment areas, and works to help coordinate the overall treatment process including referrals to all possible resources available to patients. Working together, the nurse navigator and patient develop understanding of the treatment plan to answer any questions that might be asked. The navigator assists patients in accessing and utilizing resources, overcoming barriers to treatment, and allowing treatment plan goals to be met.
The social work navigator follows psychosocial concerns initiated by the nurse navigator. The social worker is also active in referrals to obtain support services and needs that must be met in order for the patient to deal with the cancer treatment plan chosen.
What does this mean for the patient?
The nurse navigator meets patients with a newly diagnosed cancer to help them understand the testing and treatments needed along with how these treatments will affect their life. The navigator will also communicate what resources are appropriate to help patients achieve the tests and treatments desired. It is through all this the focus remains on how that particular patient might meet their needs using the healthcare systems available in the current world of cancer medicine.
Patients are a diverse group and come from many different backgrounds. The navigator works to understand the diverse needs and help the patient understand the medical options and how to use them to meet their lifestyle needs and personal choices as much as possible while dealing with the life-altering disease of cancer.
Together, the nurse navigator and the social worker, with the physicians and other referral resources, assist the patient to meet their goals.
A cancer patient may have few needs or they may have the burden of other health or psychosocial problems which require attention before the cancer can even be dealt with comprehensively. Trinity CancerCare patients have participated in recent North Dakota Cancer Coalition surveys that found fear of treatment unknowns to be the biggest barrier. The nurse navigator and social worker assist to deal with this fear based on the patient’s needs. Whether a cancer patient is in Stage I or Stage IV of their disease, we are here to help. Their courage and fortitude is an inspiration for the staff and it is a privilege to be in a position to help.