Defining the Navigator Role

April 2015 Vol 6, No 2
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Co-Founder, AONN+; Editor, JONS; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

Happy spring! I hope that everyone is thawing out from a long, cold winter and is ready to enjoy spring. Get outside and reenergize yourselves! This issue of the Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship is filled with information that I guarantee you will value and use.

One article, “A Literature Review of the Navigator Role: Redefining the Job Description,” is a well-conducted literary review of job descriptions with the goal of identifying the functions across many organizations, entities, settings, and geographic regions that best depict the most common functions and tasks performed by navigators. (Of course, we all know and have experienced the “other duties as assigned” situation that never quite makes it into a formal job description, too.) The contents of this article can help ensure that you have a better understanding of what your role will be, provide you with support when revising your job description, and offer your leadership enhanced knowledge of your roles and responsibilities, which should be valued by your oncology team.

A true labor of love is the article “Core Competencies for Oncology Patient Navigators.” This article, beyond providing you with information regarding the competencies needed to fulfill the responsibilities of a navigator, could also be considered an excellent human resources guide for those looking to recruit and train a patient navigator. Share it with your colleagues, too.

There is a compelling interview with Sharon Gentry, RN, MSN, AOCN, CBCN, who shares her perspectives on cancer care. She serves on our Leadership Council, and also serves as co-chair with me for our Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) conferences. She has thoughtful insight worthy of your review. We also interviewed Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, who has a wealth of knowledge regarding the present and future of cancer care. She offers pearls of wisdom regarding what lies ahead for our patients and for us as navigators.

There is also a personal story from Britta Newcomer, RN, BSN, OCN, a Quality, Outcomes, and Performance Improvement (QOPI) Committee member. We believe that giving you the opportunity to learn more about our Leadership Council members, as well as our QOPI Committee members, enhances your knowledge of the various backgrounds of our leadership, and why they are now serving in specific roles within AONN+.

In mid-May, our first regional AONN+ conference will be held in Seattle, WA. We have put the finishing touches on all of the educational content, events, and details needed to execute what we believe will be a great conference. This conference was created in response to West Coast AONN+ members desiring that a conference be held in their region. We have also finalized plans for our annual AONN+ conference, which will take place in October in Atlanta, GA. I hope to see you at one, or even both!

With kind regards,

Lillie Digital Signature

Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS


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Last modified: August 10, 2023

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