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February 2014 VOL 5, NO 1

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Nurse Navigation

Is It Time for Certification?

Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG 

Navigation is now being recognized as a professional category, with acknowledgment that different types of people fulfill various aspects of the navigation role.

Currently, there are no specific required competencies or standards for nurse or patient navigator training, and there is no certification to declare a “certified nurse or patient navigator.” There are several navigation and survivorship training programs for navigators. Some provide a certificate of attendance or program participation documents, but there is no such thing as a “certified oncology nurse navigator” or “certified oncology patient navigator.”

As the leading nurse and patient navigation organization, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) believes the time has come to consider the development and implementation of certification programs for navigators. We strongly believe there is a need to demonstrate that this is a “certified” profession as well as help ensure that those who are navigators have certain skills and a knowledge base to serve their patients effectively. In early 2014, AONN+ will form a certification examination subcommittee for the purpose of creating the infrastructure needed to develop an evidence-based examination to launch in the future.

The beginning point for development of a certification examination will be to provide a general oncology navigator certification program. In recognition of different professional levels of navigators as well as different organ site navigators, the vision is to launch into more specific certification areas in the future.

Throughout 2014, we will keep you apprised of the timing and development of our certification program and welcome your input as we continue to pave the way for nurse and patient navigators in their careers. There will also be additional information provided at our Fifth Annual Conference, September 18-21, 2014, in Orlando, Florida, and we look forward to seeing you there! For more information, please visit www.AONNonline.org/conference.

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