Sunday, December 10, 2006
To those of you who are directionally deficient, assistance with navigation could be really helpful. Now imagine you're trying to find your way through the byzantine maze that is the Canadian medical system. What about when dealing with a potentially deadly disease like cancer? While I don't have any particular plans to leave my current vocation, I was genuinely interested in the positions of "patient navigators" mentioned in this article. I enjoy the work I do, in large part, because I get to help people. I feel like the support that these "patient navigators" provide is indispensable to those who find themselves in need of their services. It seems that problem-solving is only part of the process. Recognition as a human being, sadly, is also an area of service that they provide. I am amazed at how easily such an integral part of someone's well-being can be overlooked. There are enough studies out there that point to people's mental state directly influences their health and well-being that treating someone as a number just doesn't seem to cut it. Everybody wants the people they interact with to be invested in them. What about when your life is at stake? What happens if the person leading you on the journey doesn't (seem to) care about who you are? I don't think that would be good for my journey back to good health and so I can't imagine it would be good for others (I'm clearly very self-centered). So cheers, to "patient navigators" who can advocate on behalf of people at the time when they can probably most use such support.