A nurse navigator is a medical professional that specializes in offering personalized care to a patient that’s immobilized by severe disease or injury. Patients and their families rely on patient navigators to offer professional assistance when interacting with medical insurance providers or additional health specialists.
Nurse navigators perform different roles from medical assistants despite having similarities in helping patients fill out forms. Medical Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) receive instructions on patient care from nurse navigators.
What Are The Roles of a Nurse Navigator?
Nurse navigators spend two to four years in school training to perform the following roles;
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1. Advise Patients on The Best Course of Treatment
A patient who’s just received results from a cancer test requires a nurse navigator to help them adapt to the drastic changes that come with long treatment programs. The navigator explains to their patient how the medication interacts with their body to boost recovery.
2. Help Patients Manage Their Medical Expenses Budget
Patients with chronic illnesses or recovering from a serious accident often worry about the financial toll that comes with expensive hospital bills. Nurse navigators assess the patient’s financial records then recommend a suitable treatment plan that’s effective and affordable.
3. Provide Training to Family Members When Patient Gets Discharged From Hospital
Doctors can discharge patients from the hospital after displaying signs of tremendous recovery. The nurse navigator facilitates this transition by training family members on how to administer and store medication. The new caregivers also learn how to use medical equipment such as stair climbers.
How do I become a Nurse Navigator?
1. Enrol For a B.Sc Degree in Nursing to become a Registered Nurse
Registered Nurses (RN) have the best shot of transitioning to patient navigators because it only involves enrolling in a postgraduate nursing program. Fortunately, LPNs and Medical Assistants (MAs) can accelerate the process of becoming patient navigators by enrolling in RN bridge programs
2. Choose a Speciality Based On Your Passion
Oncology tends to be the most popular choice for RN students aspiring to become nurse navigators. It’s also easy to get rewarding careers in diabetes treatment or providing healthcare to accident victims.
College professors can guide you in the right career paths because they have enough experience to assess a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The clinical practice also brings exposure to patients with different conditions and this exposes one’s preferences for specialty.
3. Get a Nursing School With Genuine NCLEX Pass Rates
Students who have adequate time to study course units and analyze NCLEX tests from previous years tend to excel in this crucial exam. An aspiring student should consult with active patient navigators to get recommendations on the best nursing programs with good NCLEX pass rates.
Reasons Why Nurse Assistants Upgrade to Becoming Patient Navigators
1. Best Transition for Caregivers Who Want Career Growth
A caregiver handles basic duties such as changing bedding, maintaining feeding routines, and transporting patients to get tests done. These tasks are geared towards helping doctors and RNs understand how the recovery process works.
Caregivers who become nurse navigators also learn leadership skills that enable them to collaborate with stakeholders for the patients’ benefits. RNs who specialize in this career path understand how health insurance companies work and this enables patients to get waivers.
2. Opens The Door to Better Paying Job Opportunities
Registered Nurses can earn $55 in hourly rates however there are opportunities to make more money based on specialty. Medical Assistants make $20 an hour yet their job duties are more laborious compared to RNs.
3. Improves Level of Job Satisfaction Based on Choice of Specialty
Caregivers deal with patients recovering from accidents and also those diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Each caregiver tends to feel a higher level of confidence when offering medical care to patients with certain conditions. LPN bridge programs enable caregivers to identify their areas of confidence then choose a specialty that improves job satisfaction.
Hospitals Cannot Operate Without The Presence of Nurse Navigators
Nurse navigators enable patients to adhere to treatment plans which facilitate recovery from diseases or injuries. This relationship enables patients to trust doctors and other medical specialists involved in treatment because navigators serve the patients’ best interests.
These daily demands from doctors and patients contribute to the high demand for nurse navigators nationally.