In 2008, the NCBC recognized the need for a standardization of the Breast Patient Navigator's role. Just as the breast care/cancer diagnosis and treatment process may differ from facility to facility, so do the definitions, activities, knowledge and job descriptions of a breast patient navigator. These disparities can adversely affect the breast care/cancer treatment provided to women across the nation and around the world. In an effort to minimize and eventually eliminate the variances in a breast patient's continuum of care and the definition/function of a breast patient navigator providing care within that continuum, the NCBC created this program.
A peer committee was formed to develop a certification program designed to validate the skill sets of breast patient navigators. The first certification program was offered at the NCBC's 21st Annual National Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference in Las Vegas, NV. More than 900 breast healthcare professionals received their designations as certified Breast Patient Navigators.
Navigating a patient through something as traumatic as diagnostics and cancer treatment is not new, however, trends are changing.
It is no longer enough to navigate patients at a single point in time. Feeling secure and supported throughout the journey with all the different doctors, providers of care, appointments, questions to be answered, and in essence ‘who do I call?’ are important aspects of reducing anxiety, increasing compliance with recommendations, and ultimately enabling a patient to make treatment decisions.
With that assertion comes the essence of our revitalized Navigation Certification program. It has effectively been working as a true continuity of care among the different disciplines and we now present to you a program that promotes an officially recognized stream of care while celebrating the individual licensure practices!
WELCOME CONTEMPORARY NAVIGATORS with COMPLEMENTARY but UNIQUE IDENTIFIERS!
CERTIFIED NAVIGATORS – BREAST (+ individual designation based on licensure)
CN-BI = Diagnostic Imaging/Treatment Techs (All technologists from diagnostics to treatments)
CN-BM = Management/Social Worker (All social workers and managers of navigators)
CN-BA = Advocate (All volunteers/lay navigators)
CN-BC = Clinical (All certified medical assistants, technicians, licensed practical/vocational nurses)
CN-BP = Provider (All breast care diagnosticians, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assts, breast care PhDs)
CN-BN = RN (All registered nurses from breast care, diagnostic imaging, treatment, survivorship, genetics)
With the new system in place, a true flow of navigation is set using the NCBC Navigation Matrix to create or recharge the standards of care. With a system of navigators in place there is never a need for a patient to feel lost or unsupported. Navigators effectively collaborate with other navigators in a network of support and information that is unique to each facility and individual program. It is a well-developed system to officially coordinate and combine a patient’s care from beginning to end, whether a facility has a single navigator or a whole team of navigators available in a city or a rural atmosphere.