Quality & Safety

Neuro-Oncology Nurse Navigation: Developing the Role for a Unique Patient Population

Eleanor Miller

neuro-oncology, nurse navigator, caregivers, brain tumor, impairment
CJON 2018, 22(3), 347-349. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.347-349

Navigation seeks to assess and address barriers that hinder a patient’s access to care. With the success of the nurse navigation program at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, leadership expanded navigation to neuro-oncology. The purpose of this article is to describe this population’s unique needs and the effect of nurse navigation. Although the navigation role maintains integrity with regard to scope of practice, specialized navigation strategies are tailored to the neuro-oncology population and are different from other disease sites.


  • Patients diagnosed with a primary brain tumor experience unique complexity in their disease site with the cognitive and physical impact of the disease trajectory.
  • Nurse navigation has an opportunity to intervene early for patients and families to ensure coordinated, timely care by collaborating with the interprofessional team, rehabilitation services, and family members.
  • Success of a neuro-oncology navigation program can be measured in number of patients navigated, number of patient encounters, and time to the start of treatment.
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