Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The nurse navigator role developed in the 1990s to support African American female oncology patients' access to services. Successful in oncology, the role has expanded to support patients with diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A unique cost-effective opportunity exists for nurse navigators to fill the gap in transitional care, between the acute care setting and home, for chronically ill and other at-risk patients who are often readmitted within 30 days for treatment of the same disease. The purpose of the project was to refine the job description of the nurse navigators in a Midwestern acute care hospital. The Rosswurm and Larrabee model for evidence-based practice change supported the work. The key research question involved identifying the tasks, knowledge areas, and skills necessary for inclusion in a hospital-wide nurse navigator job description, to promote best outcomes for chronically ill and at-risk patients. Using the Oncology Nurse Navigator Role Delineation Study as the starting point, the project applied a qualitative design in reviewing the 13 nurse navigator job descriptions. The percent of nurse navigator job descriptions containing the job expectations from the delineation study was calculated and additional expectations were identified from the hospital job descriptions and the literature to create a new standardized job description containing 3 categories of job expectations: tasks, knowledge areas, and skills. Positive social change may result from nurse navigator role clarity in the hospital by decreasing service duplication, improving care collaboration, and ensuring role accountability.