The primary role of the nurse navigator is to coordinate services and guide patients through the health care system by assisting with access issues, identifying resources, providing educational materials and developing relationships with service providers. Whereas these functions are imperative in any healthcare system, they gain exceptional importance in the environment for TTUHSC Breast Center of Excellence. This center operates via a “center without walls” concept that is a coalition of services from three different financial entities. Therefore, the nurse navigator in this system has a pivotal role to ensure that the flow of care is smooth and well-coordinated from a patient’s perspective. Moreover, not all physicians are in network for all the major insurance carriers; so the nurse navigator has to be knowledgeable regarding the best way to affect comprehensive care with all the required elements without increasing financial burden on the patient.
Currently, TTUHSC Breast Center of Excellence has one nurse navigator, who is an Oncology Certified nurse with experience in dealing with cancer patients. She has completed her nurse navigator training and certification through the National Consortium of Breast Centers .
The duties of a nurse navigator incorporate patient education and system navigation for both benign and malignant disease, in addition to participation in community outreach.