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The Process of Oncology Nurse Practitioner Patient Navigation: A Grounded Theory Approach, Carving the Role

Purpose: The role of oncology nurse practitioner patient navigator and process is not well delineated. To address this problem, a grounded theory study was designed to answer the question: What processes do oncology nurse practitioners use in caring for cancer patients?

Methods: To be eligible for the study the nurse practitioner should be: 1) certified as a nurse practitioner in their respective state, 2) have a certification to practice in oncology nursing, 3) entitled as an oncology NP navigator in their respective institution, 4) at least 5 years work experience in caring for cancer patients. Recruitment strategies consisted of word of mouth snowball sampling, posting on websites, bulletin boards, and blogs of professional organizations; telephone soliciting, and e-mailing. The sample consisted of N=20 nurse practitioners. Data was collected via an open ended interview questionnaire. It was coded utilizing NVivo software. This manuscript details responses of the candidates pertaining to role function which is a subcomponent of the larger data set.

Results: Oncology nurse practitioner navigators are frontiersman in the cancer arena in that they are carving unique novel roles and partnerships. A core category and basic social navigation process was defined as well as challenges. Conclusions: Program development is evident and ongoing in the navigation process and in all partnerships; evolving to manifest a navigation system Suggestions for practice and research as well research methodologies to further the navigation knowledge base have been suggested.


Frances Mary Johnson

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