An oncology patient navigator is a health care professional, usually a registered nurse or social worker, who can help patients and their families access, plan and understand cancer care.
In cancer care, this role is especially important. Cancer care is complex and involves many caregivers including primary care physicians, surgeons and oncology physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, radiation therapists, chaplains, and many other professionals and clinicians.
The patient navigator is the patient's main contact for information and guidance at all stages of care. Whether coordinating or explaining tests and treatments, providing referrals for financial needs and other community-based services, or keeping track or finding ways to get to appointments, the patient navigator can help patients obtain and understand their care.
The patient navigator benefits patients in many ways, including:
The patient navigators at Steward's Centers for Cancer Care are experienced registered nurses with special expertise and experience in cancer care. They understand the complexities of cancer care and are a resource for members of the care team. They are, especially, a guide, mentor and advocate for patients and their families before, during, and after their treatment.
The centers that offer patient navigator services include: