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Identifying the Interpersonal Communication Components of Breast Cancer Care Patient Navigation

Gallups, Sarah (2018) Identifying the Interpersonal Communication Components of Breast Cancer Care Patient Navigation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Patient navigation is an increasingly popular tool used in healthcare to address disparities in cancer care. Interpersonal communication is considered a critically important construct in patient navigation, although it is understudied. Moreover, the patient-navigator relationship may be influenced by the interpersonal communication skills and behaviors of the patient navigator. The primary goal of this dissertation research was to explore the perspectives of key stakeholders (patients, patient navigators and patient navigator administrators) on the interpersonal communication components of breast cancer care patient navigation and the relationship of these components to the patient-navigator relationship.

Methods: This study employed concept mapping, an innovative community-engaged mixed method approach that produces pictorial views of how concepts are interrelated. Key stakeholders participated in study planning and participants completed the concept mapping activities, including brainstorming, sorting, rating, and interpretation. Brainstorming, sorting and rating were completed online. Interpretation took place through in-person sessions separated by participant group.

Results: Thirty-one participants including patients with breast cancer, breast cancer patient navigators and patient navigator administrators from Western Pennsylvania participated. During brainstorming, 121 non-unique items were generated. These statements were combined into one master list of 85 items. After the sorting and rating step, the 85 items were grouped into a six-cluster concept map. Through the group consensus process during the interpretation sessions, the six clusters were named. Diagrams produced by participants noted that all the identified components were essential to patient navigation, but Skills to Build Trust and Patient Centered Relationships and Maintain Professional, Positive and Thoughtful Communication and Care were the most impactful components for promoting the patient-navigator relationship. Results of the rating step showed no notable differences between groups with participants rating Empathetic, Comprehensive and Compassionate Support, Bridge to Clinical Education and Supportive Resources, and Ongoing Individualized Coordination of Care as the most important components for facilitating the patient-navigator relationship.

Conclusion: These findings have both identified and operationalized the emerging interpersonal skills and behaviors of patient navigators in breast cancer care. These identified components can inform the patient navigation role description, competencies, and the development of curriculum for training and metrics for evaluation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gallups, Sarahsarah.gallups@gmail.comsfg11
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRosenzweig, Margaret
Committee MemberBender, Catherine
Committee MemberBurke, Jessica
Committee MemberNilsen, Marci
Committee MemberDemirci, Jill
Date: 14 August 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 June 2018
Approval Date: 14 August 2018
Submission Date: 8 August 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 139
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Nursing > Nursing
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: patient navigation; breast cancer care; health disparities, interpersonal communication
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 00:22
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2018 00:22


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