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Oncology Nurse Navigation in Underserved Communities: Opportunities and Future Directions.

OBJECTIVES: Provide an overview of navigation in three disparate populations: rural, Native American/Alaska Native, and low- to middle-income countries. Discuss gaps in care and opportunities to improve cancer care.

METHODS: A literature search was conducted in PubMed and on Google Scholar using search terms, nurse navigation, cancer, disparit*, low- to middle-income countries, Native American, American Indian, and rural. Peer-reviewed research studies, review articles, databases and websites of professional organizations, and historical books were reviewed to provide an overview of oncology nurse navigation in underserved communities. Experiences in working with these populations over the past 30 years were also provided to support current literature.

RESULTS: Forty references were included in this overview of nurse navigation in underserved communities. Nurse navigation in these disparate areas is in its infancy. While some programs exist and outcomes have been positive, their dissemination is sparse. A need exists to expand nurse navigation into these areas to provide care for these underserved communities.

CONCLUSION: Oncology nursing navigation for each of these underserved communities requires a culturally sensitive approach. Many of these approaches are universal to cultural competency and can be applied to most disparate populations.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses comprise the largest workforce around the globe and are well-equipped to develop navigation programs in some of the most disparate communities around the world. To do so, it is important to use a foundation of building trust, embracing individual differences, providing culturally sensitive education and resources for growth, and good communication.

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