Confidence Is Key in Oncology Nurse Navigation


An expert from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance highlights key skills in nurse navigation.

Confidence and oncology knowledge are crucial skills for effective nurse navigators, according to Janelle Wagner, RN, OCN.

In an interview with Oncology Nursing News®, Wagner, senior manager of Patient Navigation Program for Community Sites, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, explained what skills are necessary for an oncology nurse to become an effective nurse navigator and offered advice for any prospective navigators seeking a career shift.

“Being a nurse navigator requires somebody who has a broad understanding of oncology care. [This is someone] who has worked in many different aspects of oncology, from inpatient to infusion to the clinic, [experience with] radiation oncology is helpful, [as well as] surgical oncology. Someone who understands the bigger picture of how all aspects of care happen—rather than just one discipline.”

“In terms of implementation, it's really bringing a full team together. When looking at oncology care, you're looking at multiple disciplines: surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, etc. It’s really [about] bringing that whole team together to see what the current state is. How do the patients currently flow through the system? Is it working? Where are the gaps; where does the patient get kind of lost in the system? How can the nurse navigator be that person to help? Again, it's working with the existing system to hold that patient's hand and get them in to the right places and the right timeframe.”

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