Yamile Leon, MSN, RN, OCN, CN-BN, is a thoracic nurse navigator for Miami Cancer Institute. She has served in this position since November 2015 and worked as a nurse navigator since April 2010.
Is there a nurse navigator you think should be profiled by NurseNavigation.com? Let us know!
Q: What is the most important work you do as a nurse navigator?
Yamile Leon: Being able to break down care barriers and be a valued resource for patients to ensure the best cancer care and outcomes is a key part of my work as a nurse navigator. I love being a valued member of the patient’s health care team and assisting patients to make sure they have the proper support and health care that they need. I love all that I do as a nurse navigator.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
YL: Coming from working on an inpatient oncology unit where I cared for patients while they were acutely ill, I believe the best aspect of being a navigator is the ability to know the outcome of my patients’ care after their hospital stay and helping them during their cancer battle. It is fulfilling to know that I am there to help my patients and their families throughout the whole cancer care continuum. Knowing that I am able to make a difference in the lives of my patients and their families is truly rewarding.
Q: What value do you think nurse navigation provides?
YL: Nurse navigation provides patients and their families with their own personal compass to properly steer them in the right direction during their cancer care. Studies have shown that nurse navigation is valuable in ensuring positive health care outcomes and patient care satisfaction. The value of nurse navigation in cancer care has even led the Commission on Cancer to make navigation a standard requirement for cancer facilities to achieve accreditation.
Nurse navigation also ensures that patient care is provided in a timely and efficient manner, which can also lead to positive financial outcomes for health care institutions.
Q: What is your biggest challenge as a nurse navigator?
YL: One of the biggest challenges I have personally faced as a nurse navigator actually has to do with the title itself. In recent years, the term “navigator” has recently been ascribed as a title for many different jobs in the health care field. This has led to not only patients but even health care providers and peers being confused as to a nurse navigator’s function and role. Some people have actually thought of navigators like an actual GPS, helping patients navigate a building instead of a patient’s health care needs. This is where proper and continued education is key to ensure everyone is aware of not only the actual duties of a nurse navigator but the proven value and impact nurse navigation has on patient care and outcomes.
Q: What do you hope for as the future for nurse navigation in the United States?
YL: My hope is that nurse navigation continues to establish itself as a valued profession and health care service. Professional organizations such as the Oncology Nursing Society and Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators have already started to pave the way for navigation by establishing professional guidelines and metrics.
With the assistance of further empirical evidence, I hope that nurse navigation will be able to solidify its value in not only the attainment of care excellence but also positive fiscal outcomes so that institutions may more readily accept nurse navigation as a necessary service that should be provided.