June 2016 VOL 7, NO 5

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Oncology Navigation Certification

Certification: A Win/Win for Navigators, Employers, and Patients

As healthcare changes, and the value of care becomes a deciding factor for payment, the need for demonstrated clinical excellence grows. The Academy recognizes that for oncology navigators to excel in this competitive environment they must be empowered with the education and skill sets that are necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of their position. Certification is the answer to this need.

Making History

In 2015, the Academy proudly launched the supplemental modules that would prepare nurse navigators for the Oncology Nurse Navigator-Certified Generalist™ (ONN-CG™) beta exam in October. There were more than 40 nurse navigators who sat this exam, which was administered at the Sixth Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference in Atlanta. In November 2016, the Academy will make navigation history when it hosts the formal ONN-CG™ exam at its Seventh Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference in Las Vegas.


The ONN-CG™ certification is an important and necessary step toward establishing nurse navigation as a unique profession in the oncology arena. Beyond the educational benefits that it provides the nurse navigator, the ONN-CG™ credential sends a message to patients and employers that this individual is knowledgeable in his/her profession and will perform his/her job with the utmost value and expertise.

The ONN-CG™ certification focuses on knowledge that is pertinent to the navigator’s day-to-day responsibilities, including community outreach/prevention, coordination of care, inpatient and care transitions, patient advocacy and empowerment, psychosocial support services/assessment, survivorship and end-of-life care, identification and elimination of barriers to care, operations management and organizational development. As the Academy looks to the future of navigation, organ-specific certifications will become more and more important. Throughout 2016 and beyond, the Academy’s Certification Task Force will be working to develop these offerings for members.


Partnership with The George Washington University Cancer Institute

A significant percentage of the Academy’s membership is comprised of oncology patient navigators­—non-nurse professionals who provide cancer navigation services. In 2015, the Academy—in partnership with The George Washington (GW) University Cancer Institute in Washington, DC—proudly announced the launch of the Oncology Patient Navigator-Certified Generalist™ (OPN-CG™) certification.

The OPN-CG™ assesses oncology patient navigator core competencies, including the navigation role in patient care, knowledge for practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, interprofessional collaboration, professionalism, personal and professional development, and systems-based practice.

Core competencies for the OPN-CG™ exam were developed by GW Cancer Institute through a rigorous mixed methods study. These were released in January 2016 to prepare patient navigators to sit the OPN-CG™ beta exam in May 2016 at the Academy’s East Coast Regional Meeting in New Orleans. The formal OPN-CG™ exam will also be given at the Academy’s Seventh Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference in November.

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