Key worker role

Karen Armstrong, Helen Kerr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Each individual with a diagnosis of cancer should be allocated a key worker to improve continuity and coordination of care. The key worker role is often an important component of clinical nurse specialists in cancer services, who are ideally placed to fulfil this role. The role may be operationalised using different titles, such as key worker in the United Kingdom, professional cancer navigator in Canada and the United States of America and cancer care coordinator in Australia. Irrespective of the title, key workers are known to positively impact patient care through the delivery of information, provision of emotional and supportive care and coordination of services. Identifying the appropriate professional to be a patient’s named key worker is often driven by the cancer multidisciplinary team, and challenges remain regarding consistency of provision and effectively communicating this to patients. Care should be taken to avoid over-reliance on the key worker role within the multidisciplinary team and to ensure ongoing patient empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe role of the clinical nurse specialist in cancer care
EditorsHelen Kerr
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781119867029
ISBN (Print)9781119866992
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • General Medicine


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