Are Your Responsibilities as a Navigator Clearly Defined?

AONN+ Blog published on April 13, 2011 in Role of the Navigator
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

If not, then anticipate political problems with your oncology team members, overlap of responsibilities with others, and job dissatisfaction at some point in time. Why? Because without clear roles and responsibilities, others will not understand why you are on the team at all.

If you've heard the word "infrastructure" before and wondered exactly what that means, the case is the same for many when they hear the word "navigation." It's important to define the roles and responsibilities from the start of the position. If you, however, are already in a navigator role, it’s not too late to address this missing element, which is critical to your success. To get started, define what are the tasks that you've been told are to be your responsibility, and why. What is the current process of coordinating efficient delivery of care, and how are you to go about improving it? Remember too, without measurement prior to getting under way, there is no clear-cut way to measure your success by comparing results from before your job existed to how things are going for your patient population 6 months after you implemented changes.

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