Professional patient navigation in head and neck cancer

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2009 Aug;25(3):212-21. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2009.05.004.


Objectives: To discuss professional cancer navigation roles, models, implementation process and outcomes of patients and families dealing with head and neck cancers. One specific research is presented as an illustration.

Data sources: Published scientific papers, research review articles, implementations studies.

Conclusion: Two independent cohorts of patients with head and neck cancers were compared according to the presence of the professional navigator (Exposed cohort n=83) or not (Historical cohort n=75). The Exposed cohort showed a better profile on several indicators of outcomes. The results clearly indicate an association between the presence of the professional navigator with continuity of care (higher satisfaction and shorter duration of hospitalization), and empowerment (fewer cancer-related problems, including body images concerns, and better emotional quality of life).

Implications for nursing practice: Oncology nurses can not only play an important role in continuity of care but also in supportive care by helping patients to cope better with cancer treatments, recovery or cancer progression and death issues.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / nursing
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / psychology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Treatment Outcome