Purpose/Objectives: To determine whether patient navigation in a comprehensive community cancer center affects patient and staff perceptions of patient preparation for treatment, access to care, and overall satisfaction.
Design: Program evaluation with patient and staff surveys.
Setting: Comprehensive community cancer center accredited by the American College of Surgeons in the southeastern United States with 1,037 analytic cases of cancer in 2007; population of the main county served is about 177,963.
Sample: 48 patients (28 navigator and 20 non-navigator) and 26 employees, including physicians, nurses, and other support staff.
Methods: A 10-item survey with Likert scale format was sent to a stratified sample of 100 newly diagnosed patients with cancer. A five-item survey with the same format was sent to 40 staff working with the patients.
Main Research Variable: Patient navigation.
Findings: Patients who received navigation services responded more positively to survey statements. Statistical significance (p > 0.05) was identified in 7 of 10 statements when patient groups were compared. Provider responses indicated agreement with all five statements included in the survey.
Conclusions: Patients with cancer and oncology staff reported that patient navigation is effective in increasing patient satisfaction and decreasing barriers to care.
Implications for Nursing: Patient navigation is an emerging trend in cancer care. Patient navigators can play a significant role in assisting patients with coordinating services across the continuum of care. Continued research is essential in refining the role and eminence of patient navigators.