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Oncology Nurse Navigator

Susan Kruse, RN, BSN, OCN, CBPN-IC

The Oncology Nurse Navigator (ONN) is available as a referral for all patients with a breast abnormality before and after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The Integrated Breast Center (IBC) understands the complexity of every breast case and the need for a clinician to navigate patients through the continuum of care. The initial process starts in the Women's Imaging Center or the surgeon's office with a patient whose needs may range from insurance constraints, anxiety or clinical issues. The ONN is available to assist the patient by breaking down barriers of fear, cost and availability of services by collaborating with the supportive care team.

If a diagnosis of breast cancer is obtained, the ONN's role shifts to support the patient across disciplines of care ensuring that key elements are met every step of the way. The ONN serves not only as a patient resource, but also as Integrated Breast Center resource acting as a liaison among the surgical team, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, supportive care team and the primary care physicians.

All departments have access to the ONNís services and all patients are given a welcome letter detailing the contact information and supportive care services offered. The IBC consistently recognizes the vital need for the navigator role and is continuing to develop the role based on patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Specific Services
The role of the Oncology Nurse Navigator includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Clinical care including assisting with diagnostic studies and patient biopsy results as well as symptom management
  2. Advocacy of support, education and navigating at diagnosis and throughout treatment
  3. Coordination and referral to specialists including the Cancer Risk Evaluation Program for genetic counseling, the Joan Karnell Supportive Care Services and Occupational Therapy/Lymphedema services
  4. Participation in the weekly multidisciplinary breast cancer tumor board conference presenting prospective cases and documenting adherence to the NCCN guidelines
  5. Co-Facilitator of the monthly breast cancer support group, Facing Forward and involved in community outreach initiatives including health fairs, professional presentations and grant writing for the underserved patient.
  6. The ONN works closely with the cancer program administrator to develop and implement programs, policies and quality improvement projects specific the Integrated Breast Program.

 


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