What is an Oncology Nurse Navigator?

 Written by: Jaime Anderson, RN, BSN, OCN

An oncology nurse navigator (ONN) is a specialized nurse who provides assistance, compassion, and support to oncology patients and their families. As an expert in cancer care and the healthcare system, the ONN can help you understand your cancer diagnosis, provide support during treatment, and offer advice when navigating the complicated cancer journey. The ONN understands how overwhelming this situation can be, and they are here to provide you with the resources, support, and care you need and deserve. 

In addition, many patients face potential barriers to care during a new diagnosis. The ONN can provide a wide range of support to patients with cancer, from advocating for them in the medical setting or cancer center to helping patients understand their treatment plan and finding community resources to overcome any potential barriers.

Research has demonstrated that including a nurse navigator on a patient's cancer care team can enhance their experience and improve treatment outcomes.

Benefits of an Oncology Nurse Navigator

The benefits of an Oncology Nurse Navigator (ONN) are immense for both patients and their families. With their expertise, compassion, and dedication, they work hard to ensure that every cancer patient in their care receives an individualized treatment plan and receives care in a timely manner. From diagnosis to survivorship, these specially trained professionals provide invaluable emotional and practical support throughout the entire cancer continuum. They serve as advocates for those facing financial or emotional challenges, connecting them with resources that can help meet these needs. During this incredibly challenging time, the ONN can also provide guidance and a listening ear to help patients make informed decisions about their care and reduce stress along the way.

What can oncology patient navigators assist you with?

  • Education on your plan of care, including helping you to understand your diagnoses and treatment
  • Minimize side effects through education and collaboration with your healthcare team
  • Provide information about financial assistance and other financial resources
  • Provide assistance in overcoming barriers 
  • Provide assistance in the coordination of care
  • Provide emotional and supportive care

Oncology Nurse Navigators at San Antonio Regional Hospital 

Our patient navigators are Oncology Certified Nurses; they have received their specialty certification through the Oncology Nursing Society.

Breast Nurse Navigator at San Antonio Regional Hospital

The breast nurse navigator specifically assists those with a diagnosis of breast cancer. She follows those patients who, after a diagnostic breast biopsy at the Women's Breast and Imaging Center, receive a positive biopsy result. She works to ensure our patients receive a timely diagnosis and treatment plan. She will follow you throughout your diagnosis, treatment, and into survivorship. She is a partner in your care. However, you do not need to be a San Antonio Regional Hospital patient to take advantage of our patient navigators. They are here for our community. 

To speak to our breast navigator, call 909.920.6258 or email us at cfitzhugh@sarh.org

Inpatient Oncology Nurse Navigator at San Antonio Regional Hospital

Our inpatient navigator sees many cancer types within the hospital setting. She collaborates with the medical team to ensure effective communication between its members. She educates you and your caregivers regarding your diagnosis and treatment plan. She assists with symptom management to maintain your quality of life. This nurse navigator will continue to be available for assistance and guidance after discharge based on your individual needs.

To speak to our inpatient navigator, call 909.920.6265 or email us at Twiley@sarh.org

To learn more about navigation, visit:


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