OBJECTIVE: A survey of hospital-based nurse executives was conducted to determine the extent, approaches, and outcomes of nurse navigator (NN) programs.
BACKGROUND: Nurse navigators are distinct from other recognized healthcare roles. Navigators most commonly focus on a single health condition with the goal of improving the provision of specified health services for an individual patient.
METHODS: An 11-question Internet-based survey was e-mailed to 580 nurse executives in Texas.
RESULTS: Of the respondents, only 24% implemented any type of NN program. Most of the respondents with navigators rated these programs as successful. Most of the NN programs served cancer patients. Sixty percent implemented noncancer NN programs, with most reporting quality improvement as the main outcome measure for patients with conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high-risk obstetrics.
CONCLUSIONS: Opportunities exist in demonstrating the value of NN roles. To increase support for the role, nurse executives should develop the programs to meet the clinical, marketing, and financial objectives of the organization and targeted patient populations.