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The Presence and Roles of Nurse Navigators in Acute Care Hospitals

Pruitt, Zachary MHA; Sportsman, Susan PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

Journal of Nursing Administration: November 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 11 - p 592–596
doi: 10.1097/01.NNA.0000434510.74373.40

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.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Author Affiliations: Doctoral Candidate (Mr Pruitt), College of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of South Florida, Tampa; Director (Dr Sportsman), Academic Consulting Group, a service of Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Mr Pruitt, College of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612 (

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© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins