“A top notch, beautifully designed, thoughtful and elegantly delivered program that is both personally and professionally enriching” is how one participant described the patient navigation training Smith Center for Healing and the Arts provided this past September. Smith Center is excited to announce that our first Patient Navigation Training for Integrative Cancer Care for 2014 will be held February 23-28 at the Pearlstone Retreat Center near Baltimore, Maryland. We are pleased to be able to offer an early bird rate of $200 off the total tuition for registrations received before November 25.
The five-day training is based upon Smith Center’s unique model of integrative cancer care navigation. Navigation was initially developed in the 1990’s to assist cancer patients through the complex cancer care system and emphasized the physical barriers to accessing medical treatment, such as transportation, insurance coverage, and managing side effects. Building on this initial approach, Smith Center’s philosophy of holistic, psychosocial support led us to expand the concept of patient navigation to include complementary and supportive therapies such as nutrition, yoga, and acupuncture. Research has found that incorporating these types of therapies significantly reduces patients’ stress and improves overall well being. This unique patient navigation model was first introduced at the Howard University Cancer Center in 2006, and resulted in a 15% improvement in treatment compliance rates. Its success led Smith Center to develop a training program to improve patient support nationwide.
In September 2013, we offered the fifth annual training in integrative navigation which was attended by 23 participants from across the nation, including nurses, social workers, and lay navigators. The training was developed by and continues to be led by Ms. Carole O’Toole, Director of Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation. Carole distills the insights she has gained as a cancer survivor as well as her more than 15 years experience as a patient navigator and is considered a national leader in integrative cancer care. Our faculty is comprised of internationally recognized integrative practitioners, cancer coaches, cancer survivors, physicians, and national leaders in cancer care with a student faculty ratio of 2:1. The program provides extensive educational literature for participants as well as the forms and other resources needed to establish a navigation practice.
Participants who complete course requirements receive a certificate and are eligible for continuing education credits. As one recent course participant observed, “This training covers so much, ranging from the nuts and bolts of navigation to spiritual care and everything in between.”
The training program reflects the most significant recent trends in the field of cancer care navigation. Partially in response to the Affordable Health Care Act, navigation has increasingly come to be viewed as a means of maximizing benefits to patients and the efficiency of the health care system. Perhaps more importantly, the American College of Surgeons, which sets standards for cancer care, will require that member facilities offer navigation services by 2015. This will greatly increase the demand for professionally trained staff to fill newly created positions in these member facilities. We believe that Smith Center’s philosophy and innovative training program are well positioned to become the gold standard for training qualified navigation staff.