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Interview with an Orthopedic Nurse Navigator

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Interview with an Orthopedic Nurse Navigator

Hoag Orthopedic Institute inpatients receive the unique one-on-one care of an Orthopedic Nurse Navigator. We are very proud of this program and the comfort and stability it offers our patients. Our readers may have heard of the Orthopedic Nurse Navigator, but we are sure many questions remain. We've requested an interview with Lynne Hill, BSN , Spine Navigator,to help us answer some of those questions.

HOI: Is there a Nurse Navigator certification process, and if not, what kind of qualification does it take to be a nurse navigator?

Lynn Hill: There is not a certification process to be a navigator, although all of the nurse navigators at Hoag Orthopedic Institute are required to continually advance their education. I have an orthopedic certification and have been an orthopedic nurse for 23 years. I have worked solely with the spine post-op population for the last 10 years as a case manager and discharge planner, and I provide an education class to pre-op surgical spine patients as well.

HOI: We've heard some great things about the HOI Nurse Navigators but not from a personal perspective. We'd like to hear about your work day so that we can get some insight into how a patient might experience this unique type of care.

Lynn Hill: I want to have a clear picture of my patients' planned surgical intervention, pain and pain medications, neuro deficits, home support and discharge needs prior to surgery.  I call all surgical patients prior to surgery to discuss processes and procedures in the hospital, review expected activity limitations including wound care, assess support for home care, and address their questions. My patients understand I am their "go to" person. I encourage my patients to call me before their surgery as questions arise, and encourage them to reach out to me during their hospital stay for support and intervention. I also arrange all discharge needs.

During the hospitalization I round daily on my patients to assess pain management and progress with physical therapy and to discuss preparation for their return home. After my patients return home I follow up by making calls to them. I engage in conversation in order to assess progress of their recovery, problem-solve issues that need clarification and alert surgeons of changes that have occurred since discharge. I remain available to my patients as long as there are on-going challenges during their recovery. This relationship provides confidence to patients and may enable them to excel in their recovery.

HOI: What led you to want to be a Nurse Navigator, and is the work fulfilling for you?

This position was a very natural progression of my nursing career. It has provided me a better insight into the concerns and fears of my patients. This population needs support, understanding, and education to better equip them for their recovery. Post surgical spine patients experience ups and downs during their recovery. I am available to discuss their concerns as needed. I greatly appreciate having the opportunity to meet and become close to patients beyond their hospital stay. I love my Job.


Lynne Hill, RN and Navigator, has been in orthopedic nursing for 23 years. She has been a care coordinator for the acute care transitional unit, caring for patients from admission for orthopedic surgery through rehabilitation in the acute facility. Lynne has extensive experience as an orthopedic case manager and discharge planner. She has focused on spine care for the past 12 years. In this role, she is responsible for pre-admission education, care planning and meeting with families and patients upon admission and throughout their stay. She is also responsible for discharge planning and ongoing care during home or rehabilitation facility recovery. She is the liaison between the patients, physicians and the hospital, working to get the patient back to their life.