Patient Navigator

Career Profile:

Patient Navigator

Patient navigators strive to simplify the process of accessing and utilizing health care and provide guidance to patients in navigating through our complex health care system.

As a patient navigator, you will greet new patients in your facility, describe protocol for moving within the health care facility, help identify appropriate contacts for subsequent health care and facilitate timely access to care, educate patients on health care policies, assist them with paperwork, and help them deal with insurance challenges and complexities. You may serve as a mediator between medical professionals and your clients and even accompany them on medical appointments. Cancer patient navigation works with a patient from pre-diagnosis through all phases of the cancer experience.

Where You Work

As a patient navigator, you will work for an organization, hospital, health management organization or relevant medical facility. You may help patients in their homes or in a private facility.

How You Help

In your role as a patient navigator, you will work directly with patients and have a tremendous impact on their care. You will support and encourage patients throughout the process, reduce stress of patients as they learn a new health care system, help them overcome barriers to receiving care, and help them focus on successful outcomes.  You will also interact with other direct service professionals within the health care industry with the aim of supporting your clients.

Helpful High School Courses

  • Health
  • Social Work
  • Psychology
  • English
  • Foreign language

Skills to Build

  • Passion for helping others
  • Ability to mediate and advocate
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Time management and organization skills
  • Ability to comprehend written information
  • Ability to communicate in easy-to-understand language


  • Ability to make a tremendous difference in the life of another person
  • Ability to impact others in the health care field
  • Ability to learn about policy related to health care


  • Salary tends to be on the lower end for a medical career
  • Difficulty working with complex health care system and regulations

Education You Need

Bachelor’s Degree in social work or other related field or degree in nursing. Additional courses may be taken to develop more advanced skills specific to the role of patient navigator.

A Day in the Life

  • 8:00
    Attend a multidisciplinary medical team meeting to discuss new cases
  • 9:00
    Make telephone calls to hospitals, doctors, or other relevant professionals
  • 9:30
    Contact current clients and review steps in current plan
  • 11:00
    Contact new clients and review medical history; share overview of services offered
  • 1:00
    Visit clients in home or accompany patients to doctor visits
  • 3:00
    Follow-up with doctors
  • 4:00
    Conduct research on health care policies and procedures

Average Annual Salary Range


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  • Health Educator
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* Actual salary dependent on education, experience, location, and other variables