Nurse navigators can help to improve oncology care
According to Annmarie Flannery, R.N., administrative nurse manager at Montefiore Medical Center, the center is looking for nurses with strong organizational skills, previous nursing experience in oncology, and the ability to work autonomously. As well as being able to change focus, toward the patient in distress when necessary, another critical skill for nurses is the ability to delegate. Empathy, dedication, and compassion are some of the inherent capabilities required for oncology nurses.
The center currently has four oncology nurse navigators: two registered nurses and two licensed practical nurses, who work together in pairs. The registered nurses make the plan of care and delegate this work to the licensed practical nurses; the licensed practical nurses educate the patients about their medications. The navigators may serve in a social work capacity; during the initial patient visit, they explain their role and the ways they can help patients. They also emphasize to the patients that there is no cost associated with the support.
In order to make sure that care providers are communicating with one another, "we use Epic as our electronic health record. That means, for example, that the triage nurse will document in the electronic health record in real time her conversations with a patient. And that keeps the nurse navigator plugged into the patient's status," Flannery said in the article.
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