The Relationship of Nurse Navigator With Timeliness of Diagnosis and Date of Surgery in Breast Cancer Patients

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Susan Dunn, Hope College
Geralyn Roobol, Spectrum Health
Loril Garrett, Spectrum Health

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Nurse navigators are patient advocates, care coordinators, and educators that aim to improve continuity and quality of care for patients. Nurse navigation is becoming an essential part of patient care in the field of oncology. This study examined the relationship of nurse navigators with the timeliness of diagnosis and date of surgery. The purpose was to describe the role of a nurse navigator specifically in relationship to the timeliness of diagnosis in breast cancer patients who are going to be receiving surgery. The foundation of this research is based on Jean Watson’s Caring Theory, taking into consideration the nurse-patient role as an interpersonal helping-trust relationship that provides a sense of faith and hope for the client. This study was carried out using a between-subjects design via chart review to compare two time periods, before and after the initiation of a nurse navigator with breast cancer patients. Research was conducted at a level three hospital in West Michigan. Participants included those who had surgery for breast cancer with an oncology consultation to follow. Clients were drawn from the nine-month period before the initiation of the nurse navigation, October 2008 to June 2009 and the nine-month period following implementation of nurse navigation, July 2009 to April 2010. There were 308 participants who received the nurse navigator and 192 participants who did not receive the nurse navigator. Data was collected from the Cancer Registry and chart review from the hospital’s charting system. Data analysis was completed using PASW 17.0 statistical software. Statistical analyses showed that the average number of days from date of diagnosis to date of surgery in patients was significantly shorter in those who received a nurse navigator. The mean number of days from diagnosis to surgery in patients who received a navigator was 192 days while the mean number of days for non-navigator patients was 306 days. A limitation of the study is data was limited to one hospital. Study findings show the relationship of nurse navigation and timeliness of surgery after diagnosis. Findings can be used to educate nurses about the impact of nurse navigation on outcomes.

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