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“Nurse navigator takes every step alongside patients” – Did you read it?

iStock | monkeybusinessimages

iStock | monkeybusinessimages

Does your workplace employ nurse navigators? In a recent story from the Idaho Press-Tribunethe profession got a little shout-out for the work being done with breast cancer patients. They recognized one nurse and her patient in particular, and we found the story touching—and knew you would too!

Here are some excerpts from the piece:

They’re sitting there with big smiles on their faces—laughing, nodding and carrying on like lifelong BFFs. The bond between these two women is palpable. They’re buzzing about family, travel and more. It’s a breezy chat fit for a coffee shop or living room instead of the hospital waiting room where they actually sit. You see, one is a recent breast cancer survivor, and the other is her nurse navigator. “All I remember is her,” said Cindy Claassen, who was diagnosed with cancer Oct. 1, 2013, last year—her daughter’s 16th birthday.

“Her” is Nikki Wattier, RN, who fills a unique role at West Valley Medical Center. The nurse navigator guides cancer patients through the challenges of diagnosis, treatment and everything in between. Wattier is available to schedule and keep track of appointments, communicate with doctors and family members, voice the patient’s concerns and preferences and answer questions that arise along the way.

It’s a vital part of West Valley’s personalized care approach—and a blooming trend in health care. Wattier said the nurse navigator model first popped up in the eastern United States in impoverished areas where low-income women were “falling between the cracks.”

What the job entails:

Wattier schedules a patient’s appointments, which she also attends, at a pace that makes the most sense given each person’s unique circumstances. Often, she is asked to find the right health care professionals for those patients, who end up seeing a range of experts, including surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists. “She’s like Match.com,” Claassen said.

Wattier will be right there with her, step for step, providing individualized attention as part of Claassen’s ongoing healing process. From one patient to the next, Wattier works to ensure each one feels valued.

“When I’m with one person, I want her to feel like, ‘You’re it.’”

Read the whole story over at the Idaho Press-Tribune. Then, in the comments below, let us know what you think. Does your hospital have nurse navigators? Would you ever consider becoming one?

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