Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Cookeville, Tenn., is a 247-bed regional referral medical center serving the Upper Cumberland area of Middle Tennessee. CRMC has a more than 200 physicians on staff offering 40 medical and surgical specialties. It opened in its present location in 1950.
CRMC’s nurse navigation program started in 2007 with the addition of a breast cancer nurse navigator. The organization now employs two navigators: Amy Ellis, RN, CBCN, breast health navigator, and Beth Slatten, RN, a lung cancer navigator who was added in 2016. Together, they serve breast and lung carcinoma patients.
To assist with coordination efforts, navigators rely, in part on an EMR and care management software to track patient appointments, notes and follow up. To measure program’s value, a dashboard is maintained that tracks navigator volumes and referrals to other hospital services. Patient comments through patient satisfaction surveys are also included in the value assessment.
Navigation at CRMC
Lisa Bagci, director of the Cancer Center at CRMC, spoke with NurseNavigation.com about the history and future of the navigation program.
Q: Why did your organization start a nurse navigation program?
Lisa Bagci: To reduce timelines from abnormal finding to treatment, and recognizing the fact that patients must see and coordinate with several providers as part of the workup for breast cancer. By the time patients got to oncology, they were often frustrated and still had questions about their diagnosis.
Q: What role does navigation and your navigators play in supporting your organization’s mission?
LB: It is mission critical. Our mission is to work together to provide compassionate, excellent care, which is the cornerstone of navigation.
Q: What is the most important value your program provides?
LB: The personal approach to patient care. Our navigators are not phone based. They personally attend surgeon and oncology visits and sit down with the patient to provide education using teaching materials.
Q: What does your organization do to support the program?
LB: Navigation is housed within the oncology program, which provides navigation the support needed to ensure their success.
Q: What plans do you have to further grow your program?
LB: We plan to add other sites of cancer navigation such as head/neck and general navigation.