Fernanda Pautasso clarifies the main aspects of navigator nurses

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Author: Natalia Schuengue. Pediatric Nurse at the Fernandes Figueira Institute. Master in Child Health from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Have you ever heard of navigator nurse? In order to highlight new directions in the professional nursing career, we invited Nurse Mestre Fernanda Pautasso to have a super interesting chat with our content writers Nathalia Cholbi and Mariana Marins on this topic.

navigator nurse

navigator nursing

Fernanda Felipe Pautasso is a nurse, specialist in Intensive Care, Hospital Administration and Health Business. She has a Masters in Health Education and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Nursing.

Mari and Nath: Hi, Fernanda, how are you? Tell us a little about your history and professional trajectory?

Fernanda: I graduated in 2003 and my first experience was in Intensive Care. After a period, in 2006, I went to work at Hospital Santa Rita, in the area of ​​oncology as a manager of the intensive care unit, inpatient units. From 2015 to 2018 I worked as a specialist in the health promotion and disease prevention unit at Santa Casa, and it was during this period, during my master’s degree, that I started studying patient navigation and the role of navigator nurses. Later, I took over the supervision of the outpatient clinics of the Santa Rita hospital and I already started navigating my patients there during this period.

Mari and Nath: How did you find out about this branch of nursing?

Fernanda: It was through the oncologist and epidemiologist who was my coordinator in the health promotion and disease prevention unit that I first heard about navigation. Since then, I have been studying this topic during my master’s research. I did my training at George Washington University, in the United States. Here in Brazil, at the time, we still did not have any similar course that provided training for nurses to work in this area. During my master’s degree, I published a scientific article entitled “Actação do Nurse Navigator: integrative review”. in 2018. I brought the concept of navigator nurse and adapted a method of implementing navigation programs to the Brazilian scenario in my research, and in 2020, as a result of my Master’s dissertation, I published the study “Nurse Navigator: development of a program for Brazil”, with the construction of the Navigation Needs Assessment Scale, designed to categorize patients into navigation levels, validated by the Delphi Technique, with 12 experts. It is a unique instrument in the world, applicable to patients assisted by the SUS or private health network.

Mari and Nath: What is a navigator nurse?

Fernanda: It is a nurse who works by eliminating and/or mitigating patients’ biopsychosocial barriers, helping them and providing support to them and their families so that they have all their health needs met and have full access to the health system and services. The navigator nurse places the patient at the center of care and establishes a closer link between him and the health team.

Mari and Nath: What are the areas of activity of this branch in Brazil?

Fernanda: In Brazil, patient navigation was born in oncology and has developed significantly. We currently have some projects being developed in the area of ​​Primary Care as well, including in Rio de Janeiro, with patients with breast cancer. In Canada, the first area was in primary care.

Mari and Nath: How is the assistance of the navigator nurse organized?

Fernanda: The nurse performs the nursing navigation process where he makes an initial assessment, based on an interview; assesses the level of navigation needs of the patient; in view of the needs, a navigation plan is designed with the focus on minimizing the barriers to reaching the health services, which he needs; periodically, follow-ups and reassessments of the entire navigation plan are carried out, and put an end to the patient’s discharge.

The navigator nurse can apply the Navigation Needs Assessment scale and assess the patient’s navigation need, which can be classified into three levels:

  • Level 0: patients without the need for navigation;
  • Level 1: patient who understands well their health needs, but needs support;
  • Level 2: patient who does not understand their needs and needs full support from the navigator nurse.

Mari and Nath: What is the average salary of a navigator nurse?

Fernanda: It is not yet regulated. We still don’t have a salary standard here in Brazil and we also don’t have a professional profile.

Mari and Nath: How is the work schedule?

Fernanda: There is no standard, it will depend on the institution.

Mari and Nath: How to become a navigator nurse? Is a specific course required?

Fernanda: You need to have a lot of knowledge of the oncology area, or in the respective navigation area, to know the treatment modalities, the SUS barriers that the patient may encounter, to understand how the health system works. It is important that the nurse has experience in care as well. Regarding the training of navigator nurses, we only have one course in Brazil at Hospital AC Camargo Cancer Center with theoretical and practical classes, being a qualification course in patient navigation. The other courses and certifications that exist are at an international level. At the moment, we do not have courses in Brazil at the specialization level in patient navigation for nurses.

20 of May: National Day of the Nursing Technician

Mari and Nath: We know that attention and care with interpersonal relationships play a fundamental role in valuing professionals. We at Nursebook thank you immensely, it was a pleasure to have you with us on our Nursing Week. We wish you and all navigator nurses much success!


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