March 2018 VOL 9, NO 3

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Research/Quality/Performance Improvement

Transforming Healthcare Through Research and Reporting

Cheryl Bellomo, MSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG 

A Call to Navigators to Conduct Research and Submit Abstracts


Committee Chair
Pamela Goetz, BA, OPN-CG

Members of the AQUIRE Committee aim to:

  • Prepare AONN+ members for abstract development and poster presentations at the 2018 Annual Conference
  • Establish an abstract and journal publishing resource work group
  • Mentor navigators in the areas of quality improvement, outcomes, and research

Assistance for Quality Improvement and Research (AQUIRE) Committee

AQUIRE looks forward to assisting you!

Nursing research is a vital component to the healthcare field. Nursing research helps implement new changes in the care of individuals and is used to develop treatments/processes that provide the optimum level of care. Nursing research provides evidence-based care that promotes quality health outcomes for patients, families, communities, and healthcare systems. Navigators can utilize research and outcomes to develop and validate the programs and services provided, ensuring that patients receive quality, evidence-based care throughout the cancer continuum.

In my experience, nurses and navigators can view the concepts of “research” and “abstracts” as daunting. Navigators or nurses may not be viewed as the traditional “researcher,” but each day they creatively solve challenging patient problems by observing, assessing, implementing, monitoring, collecting data, and measuring outcomes, which can yield evidence-based results/data for the improvement of patient care and advances in the development of nursing knowledge. Identifying gaps in care, redesigning program/process flows, implementing outreach programs, and using creative ideas to assist patients in overcoming barriers to care can be considered research leading to best practices in navigation.

To promote nursing research, the Academy of On­cology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) has established the Assistance for Quality Improvement and Research (AQUIRE) Committee to provide mentorship support to AONN+ members in areas of research, quality, process improvement, metrics, reporting data, abstract writing, and publishing. Please visit the AONN+ website for contact information for the AQUIRE Committee. On behalf of the AQUIRE Committee, I strongly encourage you to take this next step in your career and conduct research, submit your research abstract, and enrich the literature so we can learn best practices from each other. The AQUIRE Committee is ready to help you take the next step. As a primer, the following are considerations in preparing a research abstract.

Determining Your Research
The components of research and evaluation are to define the problem and establish goals, implement strategies based on objectives and time, and measure outcomes. Nursing research can include exploring an area of clinical practice to improve patient outcomes and expand the body of knowledge available. To begin your research, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you identified a gap in care, gap in knowledge, or a problem you are trying to solve?
  • What are you doing in your practice setting that has made a difference in patient care?
  • What has inspired you to make a change in your practice?
  • What evidence did you find to support the change/research? (You will need to do a literature review on the subject of your research for baseline data/benchmarks to compare with as well as to serve as a guide for your research)
  • How did/will you design your method for implementation? How was the research done, and what research instruments or tools were utilized?
  • What were the results/outcomes of your research?
  • Did the change improve patient outcomes?
  • What are the implications for navigation, and who would benefit from the knowledge of your research?

Writing a Research Abstract
Nursing abstracts concisely address theoretical research in the field of nursing today. The function of an abstract is to provide a brief, descriptive summary of the completed research or project. There are basic components to research abstracts that can help you fill out the content of your abstract by acting as an outline. The basic components include:

  • Background: Briefly describe the background of the study, the reason/problem for the study, what the study intends to examine, and why the research is pertinent. Why did you do what you did?
  • Objective: State the study question, the main objective of the study, and the main problem that is trying to be solved
  • Methods: Describe how the research was done, the setting of the study, the sample size, as well as what research instruments or tools were used. What did you do?
  • Results: Include the important findings from the study (both positive and negative), response rates (eg, P values), and any additional findings from the study. What happened?
  • Conclusion: Provide a summary of the research study, including any findings from the study, implications of the findings, addressing if the gap/problem was resolved, addressing if the research question was answered, and if the outcomes of the study allow for future research. Why does it matter to anyone else?

AONN+ Categories for Abstract and Poster Submission

Category I: Community Outreach/Prevention
Category II: Care Coordination/Care Transitions
Category III: Patient Advocacy/Patient Empowerment
Category IV: Psychosocial Support, Assessment
Category V: Professional Roles and Responsibilities
Category VI: Research, Quality, Performance Improvement
Category VII: Operations Management, Organizational Development, Health Economics
Category VIII: Survivorship and End of Life
Category IX: Clinical Research

Abstract Review Process
Upon submission of your abstract, the abstract will undergo a review process to determine acceptance. See Table for our acceptance criteria. Please note, if revisions are required, the abstract author will be provided with recommendations from reviewers and given an opportunity to resubmit the abstract.


As navigators, we are engaging in significant and meaningful work on a daily basis in the development of processes, patient education, and the care of our patients and families. It is imperative that as navigators, we share the work we are doing in our individual institutions to allow for the development of evidence-based best practices. Navigators can utilize research and outcomes to develop and validate the programs and services provided, ensuring that patients receive quality, evidence-based care throughout the cancer continuum.

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