Managing A Navigation Program: The Role of Administrators

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Managing A Navigation Program: The Role of Administrators

Phyllis DeAntonio, RN, MSN, FAAMA 

Patient navigation is all the buzz in healthcare today. Every patient with an abnormal finding, whether malignant or not, wants a nurse navigator to guide them through this complex business we call health care. Navigation is as different and unique as the institution where the care is delivered, including the title of the navigator. In some institutions they are known as “nurse navigators,” and in others, “patient navigators.” They have been called “patient care coordinators,” “case managers,” and “patient care navigators.” Regardless of their title, the role remains the same. The purpose of the navigator is to assist the patients in receiving prompt quality care during this challenging time in their life in order to achieve the best outcome. While the overall goals are better patient outcomes, in an environment where justification of new positions is a constant challenge, it is important to gain support from administration for the ongoing success and funding of this position.

Take-Home Messages

Some key points from an administrative view to remember about nursing navigation are:

  • Evaluate the gaps in your system for better utilization of the navigator

  • Establish relationships with referring physicians

  • Establish a point of contact for the patient, whether imaging, physician referrals, selfreferrals, or pathology

  • Remember, a navigator does not work in isolation but is part of the team approach

  • Establish volume baselines for ongoing monitoring of out-migration and the ability to maintain patients

  • Report statistics to administration on a timely basis for ongoing justification of position

  • Report patient satisfaction; satisfied patients are the best marketers for the institution

  • Set realistic goals for patient volumes

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