Beyond Oncology: Navigation Services in Chronic Diseases and Complex Care

July 2021 Vol 12, No 7
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; 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

Dear Navigators, Social Workers, Administrators, and Clinical Staff,

Over the past year, I have connected with many nurse navigators, mostly through my LinkedIn page, who specialize in chronic illnesses or complex care, such as heart disease, COPD, diabetes, or high-risk pregnancies. Also during this time, and as you may remember, AONN+ conducted a poll of its membership to assess how prevalent navigation services are in healthcare outside of oncology. The response was clear; there are nurses providing navigation services in a host of other areas—not just oncology. This realization prompted the formation of a committee to conduct a literature scoping review to investigate and analyze articles related to navigators working in various disease states.

I am proud to present the results of that scoping review in this issue of JONS. Based on our findings, we conclude that nurse navigators working in chronic diseases and complex care would benefit from having a dedicated professional organization for networking, education, performance improvement, research, metrics, advocacy, and career development.

We have established a goal to develop a new and separate organization called the Association of Chronic Disease & Complex Care Nurse Navigators. Although this will be a sister organization to AONN+, it will be a separate entity.

What does this mean for you as a member of AONN+? You may find that your expertise in oncology navigation translates to other disease states, and vice versa. You may also find that you share patients with chronic disease/complex care navigators. For example, people followed by a navigator for a chronic illness may receive a cancer diagnosis. Or a person undergoing treatment for cancer may develop a chronic illness—such as cardiac toxicity derived from receiving a biologic targeted therapy for cancer.

In the following pages, we will reveal what we have learned thus far. We will keep you apprised of the development of our sister organization. We are confident that our experience and success with AONN+ will serve as an excellent template!


Lillie Digital Signature

Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS

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+.
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Last modified: September 30, 2021

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