Jessica MacIntyre on Utilizing Nurse Navigators to Connect Patients to Nutrition Services

Jessica MacIntyre, ARNP, NP-C, AOCNP, discusses empowering oncology nurse navigators to refer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy to nutrition services.

Jessica MacIntyre, ARNP, NP-C, AOCNP, executive director of Clinical Operations for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses a nurse-led program designed to initiate early referrals of patients with cancer to nutrition services.

MacIntyre oversees various programs including oncology social work, cancer support services, nurse navigation, cancer survivorship, cancer prevention, and phase I clinical research operations. She recently presented at the 47th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress about a navigation nurse-driven protocol, which resulted in early referral and intervention to nutrition services.

Timely referral to support is linked to better outcomes; however, nutrition referrals are not typically made prior to the first appointment with the oncology team. This protocol, MacIntyre explains, sought to overcome that barrier by empowering nurse navigators to make referrals based on specific criteria, including a diagnosis of head and neck, thyroid, or pancreatic cancer, verbalize an interest in a nutrition consult, receiving total parenteral nutrition or enteral nutrition, and/or report unintentional weight loss of: 1% to 2% total body weight in 1 week, 5% of total body weight in 1 month, or at least 7.5% body weight in 3 months.1

Reference

MacIntyre J, Lovan P, Torrents S. Integrating early referrals to oncology nutrition services through the cancer navigation program: the experience at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC). Presented at: 47th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress; April 27-May 1, 2022; Anaheim, CA. Abstract P360.