Pilots of oncology health care: a concept analysis of the patient navigator role

Oncol Nurs Forum. 2010 Jan;37(1):55-60. doi: 10.1188/10.ONF.55-60.


Purpose/objectives: To summarize the current scientific literature pertaining to the role of the patient navigator in oncology using the concept analysis framework developed by Walker and Avant.

Data sources: Published research articles, clinical articles, and Internet sources on patient navigator roles and programs. Literature was obtained from CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar, incorporating reports in English from 1990-2008.

Data synthesis: Patient navigation has received a plethora of attention as healthcare programs strive to streamline care and address current gaps in service delivery. The literature revealed that the role of the patient navigator remains context-specific and has been filled by a variety of individuals, including nurses, social workers, peer supporters, and lay individuals.

Conclusions: The role of a patient navigator includes removing barriers to care, improving patient outcomes, and ameliorating the overall quality of healthcare delivery.

Implications for nursing: By examining the role of the patient navigator depicted in the scientific literature, nurses can gain insight into not only the features of navigation but also the current systematic gaps that call for navigation services. This article examines the numerous functions of a patient navigator and exemplifies the significance of the role in various domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case Management / organization & administration*
  • Communication
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Oncology Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Social Work / organization & administration