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Native Cancer Navigation: The State of the Science

Valerie Eschiti
Linda Burhansstipanov
Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway
CJON 2012, 16(1), 73-82 DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.73-82

The purpose of this literature review is to determine the current state of the science for the effectiveness of patient navigation on improving outcomes of cancer care across the continuum among Native Americans. The research will help healthcare professionals ascertain potential evidence-based practice guidelines and gaps in knowledge, which may provide direction for future research. Data synthesis included the use of Native navigation for cancer care, which has been demonstrated in limited, nonrandomized studies to improve cancer knowledge, access to care, and quality of life for Native Americans. Those studies had limitations, including small sample size, self-report of outcome measures, and lack of randomization. Evidence is insufficient to conclude that the use of Native navigation is superior to usual cancer care for Native American patients. Oncology nurses have a role in training personnel to serve as cancer navigators. Nurses need to be supportive of culturally appropriate navigation programs and know about services provided by navigators. In addition, nurse educators need to encourage Native Americans in their communities to consider choosing nursing as a profession. If an oncology nurse has an interest in research, opportunities exist to assist with or conduct research projects regarding Native cancer navigation. A particular need exists for addressing the gaps in research identified in this article.

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