About BHCN

The National Consortium of Breast Centers (herein referred to as NCBC) holds the simple truth that many minds working together for a singular goal is superior to disjointed care given at interval times. This has special significance in caring for patients with cancer. The sudden onset of emotional, physical, spiritual, and practical concerns and related barriers to care rising from a cancer diagnosis that often lead to a patient’s confusion and fear at the very time that they need to make important life- altering decisions. The result is a national trend to use patient navigators to assist patients by education, advocacy, assessment, and elimination of barriers. Due to the varied number of patient and family issues that arise during the course of diagnostic and treatment events a navigator or navigation system has been proven successful in countering most negative aspects of care.

Accreditations for BHCN Exam

On July 4, 2023, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) granted accreditation to the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC) for demonstrating compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The NCCA Standards were created in 1977 and updated in 2016 to ensure certification programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry.  The National Consortium of Breast Centers joins an elite group of more than 130 organizations representing over 315 programs that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation. Click here for the official press release

  • Magnet Recognizes NCCA Accredited Certifications 

Definition of a Navigator
A certified breast navigator is a dedicated person experienced in the flow of events in the screening, diagnostic breast care, treatment, and survivorship setting of breast cancer. The certified breast navigator uses specific navigation tools to assess barriers, educate, and support the patient throughout the continuum of breast care with a set of holistic standards. These standards include ongoing assessment and support of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, legal, educational, sexuality, and family needs. The certified breast health navigator effectively utilizes assistance from facility, community, and national sources to lessen the severity of impact on a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Goals of Navigation Certification
Goals are subject to standards of care as defined by the NCBC, national organizations, state agencies, and individual licensures. The rewards for developing a highly functional navigational system at facility, community, patient, and individually certified navigators are:

  • Community
    • Enhanced connectivity between facilities and community services for ease in supporting patients at multiple levels and point in patient care
    • Following studies that support more timely care, reduced barriers, better use of community services and greater population healthcare access to services
  • Facility/Employers
    • Knowledge that the professional work environment includes certified employees
    • Greater retention of employees due to professional and personal satisfaction
    • Accountability for employee navigational knowledge and skills
    • Standardization of navigational programs
    • Enhanced care for patients and clients to distinguish them from competitors
    • Expedite résumé review for potential job applicants
    • Fulfilling the requirements to have a navigation program within the breast center, required by the Commission on Cancer (COC) accreditation standards
  • Patients & Family
    • Assurance that their specialized care team is qualified and competent at the highest standard of care
    • Personalized education, access to resources to overcome barriers in personal and medical care
    • Improved quality, safety and accuracy of care by certified skilled professionals
    • Smoother transitional care between providers, departments, or facilities
    • Expanded knowledge to be shared about choices and treatment options
    • More empowerment in decision-making.
  • Individual Navigators
    • Reflect achievement and knowledge beyond licensure requirements
    • Validate a specific set of skills, qualification, knowledge and core competencies
    • Recognition of improvements to standard of care
    • Advanced competency
    • Greater confidence in providing care / services
    • Heightened ability to assess and eliminate barriers earlier in diagnostics and treatment
    • More effective education of patients
    • Enhanced collaboration and recognition with peers, colleagues and team members
    • Personal satisfaction o Career advancement and increased earning potential.

Moving a patient through a breast care/cancer continuum is a complex and highly individualized and fragmented process. The complexity is significantly reduced with the assistance of an individual or individuals who are trained to navigate a patient through the processes of care, often referred to as a breast patient navigator. However, just as the breast care/cancer diagnosis and treatment process may differ from facility to facility, so do the scopes of practice, activities, knowledge and job descriptions of a breast patient navigator. 

NCBC Navigation Certification employs unique standards for every patient, every time.