Health officials in New Brunswick say a new team of oncology nurses will help cancer patients navigate the health-care system to receive support and treatment.
In a news release issued on Friday, the province says it’s partnering with the Horizon and Vitalité health networks on creating eight oncology nurse navigator positions, covering each zone in both regional health authorities.
“Receiving a cancer diagnosis turns a person’s world upside down,” said Bruce Fitch, New Brunswick’s minister of health, in the news release. “It is vitally important that they feel supported and safe during their cancer-care journey.”
Fitch said about 5,000 New Brunswickers are diagnosed with cancer every year and believes the move, as part of the Cancer Patient Navigation Program, will ensure patients can access the help and resources they need.
Officials say the nurses will help address physical, emotional and practical concerns, and provide patients with guidance, education and resources to help them make informed decisions in the pre-diagnostic and post-treatment phases.
Greg Doiron, vice-president of clinical operations for Horizon Health Network, said the program will “help fill gaps” New Brunswick cancer patients face during their cancer-care journeys.
Sharon Smyth-Okana, senior vice president of client programs and nursing for the Vitalité Health Network, said nurse navigators are a valuable asset for its oncology program, as their work helps to fulfil a mission of providing proper care.
Referral to the Oncology Nurse Navigator program can be initiated as early as suspicion of cancer is made by any health-care professional.