Dear Navigators, Social Workers, Administrators, and Clinical Staff,
2020. So much has happened, and at the same time so much didn’t happen. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive shift in how we interact with each other in all aspects of our lives. Plans were cancelled, masks became a staple, and we all became proficient in Zoom. As navigators on the front lines of oncology care, we were challenged in ways we never imagined; we continued to meet the needs of our patients by being physically present in our practice settings, but we also learned how to navigate from afar in a new socially distant world. All of us, in some way or another, have adapted to a new normal.
AONN+ is no exception. We had to find new ways of connecting with our members. We addressed that need in several ways:
- Virtual Conferences. While I certainly missed seeing you in person, the virtual meetings were wonderful experiences! We recreated the elements of our live midyear and annual meetings in an online platform. We had robust meeting agendas, poster sessions, exhibit hall events, and even added “local flair” with a virtual walking tour of New Orleans during our annual meeting last month
- Facebook Live Events. In our Facebook Live series entitled Navigation Now: How Can We Help? we covered an array of topics from telehealth to distress screening. Did you miss these events? Not to worry, you can still access them through our website at www.jons-online.com
- Podcasts. We are offering a series of podcasts entitled Heart and Soul of Oncology Navigation. Each episode features AONN+ members highlighting community stories from the front lines. You can access the entire lineup of episodes on our site (www.AONNonline.org) or simply download episodes from your favorite podcast service
- AVBCC Webcasts. The Association of Value-Based Cancer Care, a partner organization to AONN+, offers weekly webcasts addressing thought-provoking topics in cancer care. Leaders in the oncology community serve as faculty, including members of the AONN+ Leadership Council. I encourage you to join us by visiting www.ValueBasedCancer.com
2020 was a year like no other in our lifetime. And while so much happened, and so much didn’t, we understand that cancer never hits the pause button. Our collective calling to remove barriers to care for our patients is as important as ever. Likewise, patient education and psychosocial support, especially related to the COVID-19 pandemic, is of heightened importance. I encourage you to stay engaged with us through our virtual meetings, Facebook Live events, podcast episodes, and webcasts in the coming year with the hope that we will be reunited in person very soon.
On behalf of all of us at AONN+ and JONS, I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season, and may 2021 bring us the ability to resume normalcy while being thankful for our own health and well-being.
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer
of Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions; Co-Founder of AONN+.