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Friday, September 9, 2011

LOOK OUT: Your Nurse Navigator Is Here, Motherfucker

When I worked in the non-profit sector, I marveled at the seemingly endless amounts of nondescript, nebulous, official-sounding job titles were out there, and all of them essentially amounted to the same thing: file jockey. Data entry schmendrick. They were job titles (all pulled directly from, btw) like this:

Program Coordinator
Program Assistant
Programs Manager
Project Manager
Project Coordinator
Programs Assistant
Assistant Program Officer
Foundation Assistant
Strategic Director
Senior Program Manager
Team Support Administrator
Coordinating Manager
Project Liaison
Program Intake Specialist
Program Associate
Program Operations Manager
Program Specialist
Communications Specialist
Programs Generalist

I mean, are you kidding me? Come on. What the fuck is that shit?

In my time, I held a couple of those fictitious titles myself. And that is really what they are: made up. They're as made up as all of those well-intentioned bullshit names people are giving their kids these days:



The jobs are made up, too. The non-profit world is brilliant at making up jobs and job titles to go with them. You wouldn't think they'd have so much money to throw at the random-ass people who end up filling these utterly non-essential, meaningless, clerical, stress-inducing jobs but, when you're only paying them $21,000 and no health insurance, it's not that big a deal for most non-profits to handle.

And, after a year, most of them quit or get fired anyway.

The for-profit world doesn't really get into the habit of making up jobs or job titles. The CEO of a company is the handsomely-graying white guy in the $2,000 Italian suit getting hummed by his secretary behind his black lacquer desk. There's no mistaking what that's all about. Likewise, and down a peg or two, a machinist is a fucking machinist. There are no Senior Programs Machinists or Machinist Liaisons. There aren't Intake Machinist Specialists. There are just fucking machinists. And they work on fucking machines. Because they're machinists.

A car salesman, in all his balding, pot-bellied, yolk-on-his-tie, sweat-on-his-upper-lip glory is a car salesman. Period.

You wouldn't think that the healthcare industry would be one for inventing job titles and positions (a doctor's a doctor, a paramedic's a paramedic, an oncologist head-butts cancer, and so on) but you'd be wrong. The medical sector has, in what I think is probably only the last couple years, worked to contrive and confabulate an entirely new subset of the nursing profession called:




As if tacitly acknowledging that healthcare, health insurance, and the entire experience of going into the hospital even for a "routine" procedure has become utterly indecipherable and unknowable for the average schmuck-stain, the position of Nurse Navigator was created, ostensibly to navigate you, the loser on the gurney, through the vast and heretofore un-navigable (I guess) intricacies of the hospital system.

It isn't because hospitals were faced with the increasing burden of nurses that have been in their positions for too long, have become long in the tooth and fat in the ass, short on patience and long on exasperated tirades, nurses who haven't kept up with advances in technology or medicine or culture or all of the aforementioned, nurses who have ingrained themselves into the very fabric of the hospital and cannot be fired, but are utterly useless with patients because they shat out their bedside manner decades ago, and nurses whom doctors secretly fantasize about strangling, (and not in the sexual way either) and so, instead of gracefully putting them out to pasture, they created this odd, undefined position to give them a job that doesn't mean anything, but pretty much gets them out of everybody's hair.

I mean, call me a cynic, but...

If you don't believe me that the job is undefined, don't take it squarely on the chin from me-- here's one newly minted Nurse Navigator on an RN chatboard:

"I have recently been promoted to a nurse navigator type role. I wanted to know are there any nurse navigators here that could help me develope [sic] this new position at our hospital. I am the first one here HELP!"

And then she put a little crying emoticon, just to underscore her complete and utter helplessness.

So, here's a Nurse Navigator, asking other Nurse Navigators to help her (say it with me now) navigate her job.

Folks: don't get sick (or pregnant) in America. We're basically fucked.

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