Connecting Patients With Trained Volunteers

What Would Lillie Do? —October 18, 2018

Name: Donna
Position: Nurse Navigator
Subject: Process for connecting trained volunteers to support cancer patients

We are working on implementing a program that will provide cancer patients with support from trained volunteers. What is the best process to connect patients with volunteers? How can we be HIPAA-compliant? Discussion has been poor in EMR, e-mail, and fax to the coordinator. Besides Jean (Sellers), do you know of anyone with a successful program?

Twenty-one years ago, I implemented the program, Survivors Helping Survivors, for breast cancer survivor volunteers to provide this type of support. You can contact me via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I can arrange to electronically send you our training manual, HIPAA- compliant documents, etc. It is very important that the volunteer be oriented not just in your program but also attend the required classes at the central volunteer office. The central volunteer office must receive a monthly report from you on the number of hours for each volunteer and how that time was spent—ie, one-on-one support via phone, coming on-site to hold the hands of patients who have wire localizations and breast surgery or biopsies, staffing health fair booths with you, helping with fund-raising events, etc. It is the central volunteer office that covers them for hospital liability too. Many other institutions have followed our model. Northside Hospital is a good example of how our Hopkins model was replicated.

Name: Bobbie
Position: Nurse Navigator
Subject: Nurse practitioner utilized in navigation

Do you know of any models that a nurse practitioner can use in the field of nurse navigation? I have been a nurse navigator for about 7 years, and will be graduating with my MSN-FNP soon. I am sad to think about leaving the field of navigation but I have not seen any navigators utilized that are also FNP prepared. Would you have any insight into this?

Absolutely, approximately 12% of nurse navigator positions are filled by nurse practitioners. Work with your supervisor to see about combining your new knowledge with your prior nurse navigator role. Be sure not to spend your time doing clerical tasks too. It will be great that you can do assessments of the patient physically, so if a prescription or test is needed you can order it yourself. Congratulations!

Name: Stacey
Position: Nurse Navigator
Subject: Informed consent

Who is responsible for having the patient sign an informed consent―the navigator doing the chemotherapy teach or the treatment suite nurse treating the patient?

Technically, it should be whoever is treating the patient, or the medical oncologist who ordered the treatment.

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What Would Lillie Do?
Last modified: November 5, 2018

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