Introducing… a clinical navigator

Introducing… a clinical navigator

April Hiscock is a clinical navigator for the Niagara West palliative care team based at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. She has been with Hamilton Health Sciences for 11 years.

What do you love most about your role?

What I truly enjoy is to help people in their times of need. Generally, when people come to the hospital, it’s during a difficult time in their lives. It is a privilege to be part of a team that supports many members of our growing community.

What do you find challenging?

West Lincoln is one of the smaller hospitals at HHS. This allows me to collaborate with my colleagues more often. This enables us to identify challenges early. For example, when a patient arrives, I can find out quickly through the patient status board they are either in the emergency department or they were admitted to another unit. This means the team can be involved in a timely manner and help get the patient home sooner. It takes a lot of anticipating and facilitating with numerous colleagues in the hospital and the community to make this happen.

West Lincoln is one of the smaller hospitals at HHS, which may allow me to collaborate with my colleagues more often.

Describe a typical day.

My role requires knowledge of partnerships within the team health care setting and the broader community. I am the gatekeeper and confidential advocate for patients and families. Being their first point of contact, I help them navigate through the system by organizing referrals, patient information and visits to other health care providers. I connect patients, families, family physicians, community and hospital staff, the care coordinator for the Local Health Integration Network and any other person involved in the patient’s care.

I coordinate and prepare monthly on-call schedules, doctor billings, team meetings and numerous statistical reports to multiple sites. What can be most interesting is I also help get new students, residents and doctors ready for when they arrive at West Lincoln. The key to my role is to keep team members organized daily to facilitate their work. What can be most thrilling for me is to sit on one of the many committees we have, which gets me more familiar with the inner workings of our hospital. These help provide variety in my day-to-day activities.

I am the gatekeeper and confidential advocate for patients & families.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.

I enjoy getting all my colleagues—including the night shift since I am at work bright and early—involved in various hospital functions, such as our annual staff barbecue. I like to think we have the best barbecue event at HHS!  It’s always a fun day filled with camaraderie, music and people volunteering their time to help out. The business community donates prizes to show their support and to thank the staff, doctors and volunteers. This has to be my most gratifying experience. We are a close-knit group and we’ll often consider ourselves a big family.