Gateway Community College has created the state’s first Patient Navigator Program. Students are trained to help people get the health care they need.
There’s a growing demand for Patient Navigators, says Vicki Bozzuto, dean of workforce development at Gateway Community College in New Haven. "You might find a Patient Navigator in an emergency room, you might find them in a homeless shelter, you might find them on a street or in a doctor’s office."
Sometimes navigating patient care is folded into the responsibilities of an already existing job, and sometimes it has become a new full-time position, according to Bozzuto "..to assure that patients who might not ordinarily go directly to the right health care option, basically have their hand held to walk them through the processes."
Gateway’s program involves 24 hours of lecture work and 24 hours of observation at different clinical sites.
A Patient Navigator teaches people how to advocate for their own health care, improve patient outcomes and reduce the frequency of visits to emergency rooms for non-emergency care.