Impact of a Nurse Navigator on Genomic Testing and Timely Treatment Decision Making in Patients With Breast Cancer

Kelly A. McAllister, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN; Mary L. Schmitt, MS, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP


Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2015;19(5):510-512. 

In This Article

APN-RN Nurse Navigators

The nurse navigator is a key member of an interdisciplinary team (Freeman & Rodriguez, 2011). Much of the literature available on navigation references the core vision of improving inconsistencies in the delivery of care by ensuring timely, consistent, high-quality, individualized care to all patients and overcoming barriers in care coordination by improving understanding and facilitating timely access (Freeman & Rodriguez, 2011; Kiely, 2014).

An RN navigator was identified as having a key role in the authors' process improvement project. The process envisioned that a nurse navigator could access eligibility criteria for testing, ensure results were available at the initial consultation, and communicate pertinent information across departmental lines from the point of diagnosis to the beginning of treatment.

The APN understands and meets the needs of patients across the continuum of care from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship (Institute of Medicine, 2010). APNs improve quality and continuity of care, improve access to services, and play an intricate role in patient navigation (Reid, Tanoue, Detterbeck, Michaud, & McCorkle, 2014).

Timely treatment increases survival and reduces the risk of metastases. Gagliato et al. (2014) found that women who started chemotherapy within 30 days of surgery had better outcomes in regard to survival and remaining disease free. Timely treatment also has a positive impact on the quality of care and the patient's experience (McAuliffe, Danoff, & Shapiro, 2013). Although not well studied, treatment delays may adversely affect patients psychologically, socially, and economically (McAuliffe et al., 2013).