Integrated Public Health

Patient Navigator

What is a Patient Navigator?

Patient navigation, or patient advocacy, is gaining attention as an emerging profession, both in the media and in the popular vocabulary because it fills so many gaps in the current American health care system.

The names for this work may vary (patient advocate, navigator, health care advocate or consultant, medical advocate) but the basic idea is the same. Patient Navigators work with patients and families to help them at many points along the health care continuum: disease research, insurance problems, finding doctors, understanding treatment and care options, accompanying them to visits, serving as coach and quarterback of their health care team, working with family members and caregivers, mobilizing resources, managing medical paperwork and almost anything else you can think of.

Being bilingual will make you more marketable as a job candidate.

Many of the people who want to do this work come to it because they have been through a life-changing medical event, either for themselves, a friend, or a loved one. They have learned the hard way how difficult it is to navigate and manage a complicated diagnosis, treatment or chronic condition. They experienced the confusion, lack of coordination, dangers and inefficiencies in our health care delivery system and now they want to share both what they have learned and how to avoid missteps along the way.  In many cases, these are laypeople with no prior medical experience or training.
Increasingly, more nurses, social workers, and physicians are also becoming private patient advocates, often after having worked within the health care system.  While hospitals will generally only hire nurses or other medically-licensed professionals to serve as their in-house navigators, most private advocates come from a variety of backgrounds.
The concept of patient advocacy in the United States has a long history dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century but gained significant attention as part of the movement for patient rights in the 1970’s. The National Welfare Rights organization coalesced around a patient bill of rights and in 1972 it became incorporated into the accreditation standards for hospitals by the American Hospital Association.
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What courses at PVCC can help me become a Patient Navigator?

There are a number of courses at PVCC that can help you prepare for a job or career as a Patient Navigator.  Click on the individual course links below to learn more about each course offered here at PVCC:

IPH101 Introduction to Public Health  (NEW! Will be offered for the first time at PVCC this Fall 2018!)

HES210 Cultural Aspects of Health and Illness    OR    HCR230 Culture and Health

FON241 Principles of Human Nutrition

SPA117 Health Care Spanish I

SPA118 Health Care Spanish II

ASB100 Introduction to Global Health

PSY230 Introduction to Statistics

COM270 Health Communication

HTM150 Introduction to Health Care IT and Systems

IPH105 Introduction to Patient Navigation  (NEW! Will be offered at PVCC in Spring 2019)

IPH201 Introduction to Epidemiology  (NEW! Will be offered at PVCC in Summer 2019)

If you are interested in becoming a Patient Navigator, one of the first things you should do is contact one of the Integrated Public Health faculty members here on campus.  They would love to answer any questions you have about Patient Navigation or any of the other Integrated Public Health specialties, such as Public Health Worker, Health Educator, Health Administrator, or Mobile Integrated Health Care Worker.  They will also help you select courses to take and offer advice on jobs and scheduling as well as getting you hooked up with all the resources PVCC has available on campus to make your learning experiences successful.