The lay navigator provides individualized assistance to patients, families, and caregivers to overcome barriers within the healthcare system and facilitate access to all the resources available to patients. The lay navigator acts as a link between patients and care providers to facilitate clinical and supportive care services. The role is that of a single point of contact among referring providers, patients, and other clinical caregivers for the purpose of empowering patients in dealing with the disease and the treatment. The lay navigator facilitates patient appointments for diagnostic procedures in the laboratory, imaging, and other specialty areas. The lay navigator will work collaboratively with a clinical point of reference as defined by the lay navigator’s scope of practice.
Clinical-as defined by scope of practice/experience
- Assists patients to make informed decisions.
- Collaborates with members of the healthcare team to design and coordinate an evidence-based plan of care.
- Conducts initial and ongoing comprehensive needs assessments of patients and families.
- Documents in the electronic health record, as indicated, all interventions and clinical changes using established care guidelines.
- Encourages patients and families to participate in the care plan.
- Evaluates results of care plan and readjusts priorities as patient status changes.
- Facilitates scheduling of appointments for clinical consultations and support services inclusive of the medical care team, surgeons, radiation oncologists, social workers, pain consults, and dietitians.
- Follows an intervention plan from the time of patient referral, coordinates care among team members, reviews patients’ disposition for care, provides patient information and education, assists patients in obtaining a second opinion, follows patients during treatment, and evaluates care and changing priorities.
- Follows patients throughout the care continuum, including inpatient admissions, and collaborates with inpatient care management resources.
- Identifies new and established patients with a cancer diagnosis who require navigator services.
- Matches unmet needs with referrals to a social worker, dietitian, genetic counselor, nurse practitioner, and community or outreach coordinator.
- Participates in patient education by assisting patients in understanding their diagnosis, treatment options, and available resources.
- Provides emotional and educational support for patients and families.
- Serves as a patient advocate on the multidisciplinary team.
- Transitions patients from one phase of care to the next, including self-management and independence in self-care.
- Uses a case management system.
Leadership and Quality
- Adheres to established productivity benchmarks and submits data for the oncology dashboard.
- Articulates service and customer relations improvements to ensure patient retention.
- Coordinates clinical information for multidisciplinary treatment-planning cancer conferences.
- Develops patient education programs and written communication materials.
- Participates in collecting data for the oncology dashboard to monitor quality metrics and clinical outcomes.
- Participates in oncology service line performance improvement activities.
- Maintains responsibility for outreach efforts to establish and maintain positive working relationships with key customers (e.g., providers, office staff, diagnostic laboratory staff, nurses, radiology staff, social services staff, radiation oncology staff).
Education, Experience, and Licensure
- High School Diploma or GED Required
- Associate Degree Preferred.
- OPN-CG (Oncology Patient Navigator-Certified Generalist) preferred or obtained within 12 months of hire
- Minimum 2 years of clinical or non-clinical healthcare related experience
- Experience in Radiology, Pulmonology, or Thoracic Oncology required
- Basic life support (BLS) certification
Job Qualifications and Skills
- Ability to form strong alliances with referral and resource agencies in the community
- Ability to provide holistic care for patients with education and information about their illness
- Active listening skills
- Ability to anticipate change and react accordingly
- Clear and persuasive communication skills among all levels and audiences
- Able to assess, plan, intervene, and evaluate the physical, emotional, and educational needs of the patients
- Experience in conflict resolution
- Sensitivity to cultural and ethnic diversity
- Demonstrated leadership style that builds and maintains a climate of trust and inspires collaboration with medical staff and departments
- Expert knowledge in medical, surgical, and radiation oncology
- Knowledge of legal and professional guidelines and scope of practice
- Able to work efficiently and effectively both independently and as a member of a team
- Sound decision-making and critical-thinking skills
- Symptom management experience