Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

F. Douglas Scutchfield, MD

Committee Member

Richard Ingram, DrPH

Committee Member

Mark Dignan, MD


Despite widespread incorporation of patient navigation into cancer care programs, there remains little consensus on the definition or core competencies which distinguish the patient navigator role within health care. In order to determine the definition and core competencies, the experiences and insights of patient navigators must be understood. Four patient navigators participating in a 2010 Appalachian Cervical Cancer intervention were interviewed. I qualitatively analyzed these interviews for important themes relating to the definition of patient navigation as well as important skills and competencies. The patient navigators identified patient navigation as being patient-centric and focused on overcoming barriers to cancer care. Key skills identified were interpersonal and selfmotivational skills. The themes identified in the interviews strengthen the understanding of what it means to be an effective patient navigator.

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