October 2012 VOL 3, NO 5

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Nurse Navigation


In February 2012, MindStream Education1 held a conference in Orlando, Florida, titled “Best Practices in Oncology Nurse Navigation.” The conference was co-chaired by Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, a professor at Johns Hopkins who is also the Director of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Breast Programs and Survivorship Programs as well as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship (JONS) and Program Director for the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators (AONN), and Julie Silver, MD, a physician from Harvard Medical School who is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There were approximately 200 participants, including primarily oncology nurse navigators; however, physicians, administrators, and oncology social workers also attended.

The focus of the conference was to highlight the modern trend of oncology nurse navigation by presenting pioneering strategies and best practice case studies from leading healthcare organizations. The large attendance reflects the desire for information about nursing navigation as well as the need for greater knowledge about program leadership and the operations of oncology services. In a rousing brainstorming episode, Dr Silver led an interactive think-tank session in which all participants shared ideas on improving current navigation processes and care services for cancer patients in order to provide the highest quality of patient care. She challenged the group to develop a strategy, using concrete evidence including outcomes, to convince their administration that navigation is a critical part of oncology care. A volunteer group of conference participants, several of whom had expertise in academic publishing, teamed up to write the outcome of the discussions and captured the following topics of discussion:

  • What is the role of an oncology nurse navigator?

  • What barriers does an oncology nurse navigator encounter?

  • What strategies are or can be used to overcome the barriers?

  • What are ways to track outcomes/metrics and have them support or justify the oncology nurse navigator role?

  • Are there other means to justify the oncology nurse navigator job?

The 4 articles generated by the ideas from this conference are ones that the authors hope will provide insight on developing, maintaining, and improving nurse navigation programs. Each article is intended to assist programs in deciphering what they need in order to move their navigation program forward, incorporate best practices of navigation from leading healthcare organizations, and stimulate conversations among the disciplines that support navigation programs to ensure that navigation is included in the delivery of quality cancer care.

The first 2 of these articles are included in this issue of JONS, and the others are slated to run in an upcoming issue of JONS. Thanks to the authors for their initiative and efforts in putting this together.


  1. Best Practices for Oncology Nurse Navigation Leadership - Spring Session, February 16-17, Orlando, FL. Mind­Stream Education Web site. www.mindstreamedu.com/past-conference-pages/nn1/. Accessed October 8, 2012.

The authors of the following 2 articles would like to express a special thank you to Dr Julie Silver for the challenge she presented and for her support during the manuscript production.

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