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January 27, 2004

What Do You Want to Be...

... when you grow up? I know what I want to be - a Patient Navigator.

For a very long time I've wanted to go into cancer patient education. I'd be the person who helps you find information about your disease, how it's treated, what options you have, how to deal with the health care system, etc. But the more I researched that kind of job, the more I realized that most of the people working in patient education are either registered nurses or have an MSW (Master in Social Work) degree. Neither of which I have any interest in being, or getting.

So then I was thinking about being a patient advocate - someone who would assist cancer patients in understanding what is happening to them and being a second set of ears during their doctor's appointments and therapy sessions. But again, there didn't seem to be a clear path to getting started in that sort of career.

And then I read an article in Self magazine that talked about a cancer hospital in Harlem that was funded in part by Ralph Lauren's charity. The interesting thing about this hospital was that they have this Patient Navigator program, and as soon as I read about it I just knew – THAT is what I need to do with my life.

Now I just need to figure out how to get into that. There is currently legislation pending that would provide federal grant money to communities and hospitals in order to start local Patient Navigator programs. If that goes through, there should be several opportunities for this opening up.

I think my next point of action will be to get in touch with my oncologist and see what he thinks about this kind of program. He's fairly influential at Morton Plant Hospital/Powell Cancer Pavillion, where I was treated, so getting him on board would be an immense help.

But enough about me. If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?

Posted by Highwaygirl on January 27, 2004 08:59 PM to the category Stuff About Me

I read that article too. I think that'll be a fantastic vocation for you. Who better to act as an advocate than someone who's been through the same experience?

Posted by: rappy at January 28, 2004 08:57 AM

Best wishes in accomplishing your dream.

Posted by: lifeonhold at January 28, 2004 12:37 PM

Hey Highwaygirl!

More crack for ya!


Posted by: Phildozer at January 28, 2004 01:31 PM
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