With the ever-growing influence of various life-threatening diseases, the requirement of skilled, educated, and generous individuals have largely increased in the field of medicine and science in the past few years. One such job is that of Nurse Navigators who focus on the clinical aspects of care and drive the strength of the patients to deal with various severe injuries or illnesses they are going through. They are usually involved with the patient during the suspicious discovery of the disease, diagnosing testing, the treatment procedure, and follow up the patient through end-of-life care.
There are certain stages in life where a patient can’t undergo even a single action without assistance, and this usually happens either due to aging or as a result of any critical disease which needs a long expanse to be cured. The team of nurse navigators helps such patients in their unmanageable and painful stages of life. Apart from technical knowledge and specific skills, the individuals belonging to this profession should have the ability to understand and support a patient emotionally. They must be able to encourage the patient and change his views towards a healthy life through positive communication.
What is Nurse Navigators?
Nurse navigators or patient navigators usually work as a team which contains various professionals who provides and assists those patients who are facing severe health conditions due to a critical disease. These patients usually require 24×7 surveillance as even a fraction of second can cause their life. The nurse navigators go through their conditions and provide them with the required medicinal treatment and support throughout the day. They serve the patient with a high degree of clinical and comprehensive care. This profession is largely suitable only for those nurses who have a keen understanding of various diseases, along with the in-depth knowledge and understanding of various health care treatments and systems. Some of the major departments under which nurse navigators work, include-
1. Orthopedic Nurse Navigator
These are the registered nurse who have attained specialized knowledge and skills in the field of Orthopedics. They assist the patients who are undergoing any sort of joint surgeries, fractures or other bone-related problems. They support the patient during the entire surgical process right from pre-admission to discharge.
2. Oncology Nurse Navigator Or The Clinical Patient Navigator
There is not much difference between both of these. The team of nurses who are prolifically skilled and have in-depth knowledge of cancer, its causes, cure, and treatment fall into this category. They undergo strenuous tasks that involve taking care of the cancer patient during the whole treatment procedure. In some of the cases, they may have to stay life-long with a patient unless the disease is cured.
Nurse navigators work in various departments and facilitate the patients who are suffering from any of the critical diseases that require 100% assistance. However, most of the patient navigators have been working for cancer patients. Cancer is one of the most witnessed life-ending diseases that have sprawled across the globe. The frequent increase in the number of cancer patients has led to an increase in the requirements of patient navigators.
What Does a Nurse Navigator Do?
There are numerous tasks that a nurse navigator may have to fulfill on a daily basis. However, the scope of their working largely depends upon their field of specialization and the kind of work environment they choose. It even differs as per the nurse’s level of preparation, location, educational qualifications, skills, and training that she has attained.
In spite of the fact that every nurse navigator’s responsibilities and duties differ from one another, all of them have to advocate for the patients by supporting and assisting them throughout the course of their illness. They have to translate the critical medical details and information in an easy to understand language so that the patients can interpret the data in a perfect manner and can apply the various prescribed medications, treatments and changes in their lives. They provide the patient with an individual and centered care.
Duties And Responsibilities Of Nurse Navigators
Nurse navigators are usually appointed after they have attained a prolific level of experience in their field of expertise. Moreover, employers usually prefer those nurses who can easily handle each and every situation with calmness and dedication. The role of a specific nurse in the team of nurse navigator includes-
- Educating the patients regarding their disease and making them understands the need for prescribed treatment, it’s side effects that can occur and how the patient should react or deal with such side effects.
- Provide the patient with various clinical resources, must know how they can seek another opinion, providing the patient with various tests or treatments that might not be available locally, and should have the knowledge of how to access the credible sources of data.
- Must access the patient’s condition from time to time along with understanding their psychological distress. Should ask for a referral, medical social worker or counselor if extra intensive support is required.
- Should work in consultation with the other teammates and must act as an interdisciplinary of the team. Should secure access and coordinate for the appropriate services as a continuum of care.
- Should generate timely schedules of appointments, various diagnostic testing, and procedures of treating.
- Must empower the patient, their family, and the caregivers to undertake as much responsibility towards the patient as possible, while educating them about the whole illness, treatment, constraints of age and other factors.
Well, there are no set standards that can describe the role of a nurse navigator. If summarizing in short, the nurse navigators have to be like a shadow to the patient, and should always stay with and around them.
Required Skills Of A Nurse Navigator
There is a lot more than an individual must do to become a successful and professional nurse navigator. They must not only have the prescribed clinical skills but should also possess various qualities through which they can motivate the patient and can restore his faith in a positive and healthy living again. The major qualities required include-
- Communication Skills– a nurse belonging to this profession can’t work according to her own terms and requirements. Moreover, she must be able to effectively coordinate with the teammates, patient and the expert physician. She must be reliable, open and responsive in the communication processes.
- Cultural Understanding and Openness– the navigator has to be with a new person, i.e. her patient through a long time, thus, she may get to encounter various traditions, beliefs, and values followed by the patient and their family. A navigator must be compatible enough to deal with all such changes.
- Sensitivity, Respect and Team Spirit– the nurse belonging to this field must be extremely diligent and understanding. She must know where to set up the boundaries and what all things to discuss with the patient and their family, along with working as a team and not individually.
Education Requirement for Nurse Navigators
The major educational requirements for the job of nurse navigator largely differs from their field of working to the state and work setting they are operating in. however, there are certain prescribed educational needs that all of them must fulfill. Individuals, who are willing to work as a nurse navigator, should have a bachelor’s degree or diploma in nursing. She must also be a registered nurse as per the set standards. Usually, those candidates are preferred who have more than 2-3 years of experience in dealing with the condition of a serious patient and performing the various roles in such situations.
The nurse navigator should also portray great interactive skills and technical knowledge simultaneously. Candidates who have completed their masters in the field of medicine can also get into this profession with desirable work experience in any of the field including pharmacy, care, nursing home etc. such professionals are considered as ideal individual for the job of nurse navigator. Nurses in this field need to have a specific qualification in their particular discipline. Unlike other nurses, here the job prospect is really wide and chances of relief are less. As you have to be with a patient throughout the time, you need to be alert and attentive enough.
Salary of Nurse Navigators
Nurse navigators who depict exceptional skills and those who fulfill all the desired educational requirements attain great benefits and advantage in terms of both remuneration and bonuses. The salary scale and other things which they get, largely depend upon their field of expertise, their in-depth understanding, and knowledge about the disease, the criticality of the disease, and also upon their work environment and settings.
In a recently updates survey of 04 January 2021, it has been published that the average annual salary of a nurse navigator ranges around $64,350 (source indeed). It basically falls between, $57,190-$91,393. The entry-level salaries of the beginners usually begin from $45,000 and can go above $90,000 for the most experienced and professional ones. This may largely depend upon the qualification and abilities of the nurse to portray her skills. These recent surveys of the U.S. show that the demand for credible, skilled, and generous professionals in the field of nursing is increasing at a fast pace every year.
Nurse Navigators Salary Description
|Salary||$57,190 – $91,393|
|Bonus||$0.00 – $10,000|
|Total Pay||$51,165 – $89,745|
However, with a better level of experience, you can always increase your performance and salary scale simultaneously. If you are capable of treating your patients with utmost sincerity, love, affection, and care then no one can stop you from earning around $1, 00,000 on average basis yearly.
Along with these fixed o fluctuating pay scales, the Nurse Navigators also enjoy the privilege of various non-monetary schemes like insurances, pensions, social security, childcare, paid leaves and a lot more as per the standards of the country, state and the healthcare center where they work.
How Much The Nurse Navigators Earn on an Hourly Basis?
Employers usually prefer those individuals who have got amazing inter-personal skills along with a detailed idea on how to deal with the various situations that may occur in a patient’s condition. Thus, the field also offers high wages to the professionals for this strenuous task. When considered on an hourly basis, nurse navigator may earn up to $21.74 – $40.87.
This is not the end, along with the hourly wage; they are entitled to enjoy the benefits of $22.78 – $49.75 as overtime, $0.00 – $10,000 as a bonus and $4,250 as profit sharing annually on an average basis. The average pay scale of an experienced individual in a perfect working environment can go around $51,165 – $89,745.
Highest Paying States
Every state recognizes the need for a particular profession and employees as per its demand. However, the need for nurse navigator is usually felt in every state. With the growing expanse of critical diseases like that of cancer, individuals are now fighting against such illnesses with huge pain and problems. There are a lot of states where such patients are found in numerous numbers, and thus, an extreme need for nurse navigator is felt. Some of the states which make highest payments include-
Highest Nurse Navigators Salary Paying States
So, these were some of the areas in the USA where the salary of a registered nurse navigator can flourish up to large extent. However, those who have got the required skills and talents can easily turn around these figures and can earn better and much more than what is mentioned here.
Thus, wrapping up the job prospects, required educational qualifications, skills, and other factors, individuals who are planning to be a part of this profession can actually earn a lot with the help of their skills and experience. Be it any state or country, the need of such professionals who can spend their valuable time in help, support, and assistance of others is really essential today. Such professionals not only earn monetary benefits but are also an inspiration to those thousands of individuals who want to make up their career in the field of medical sciences.
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