Where Does Your Role of Navigation Begin and End (and Possibly Overlap with Someone Else's Responsibilities)?

AONN+ Blog published on January 12, 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

It’s hard to turn on the radio or pick up an ad about a cancer center without reading something about patient navigation. There has been an explosion of oncology nurse navigator positions in the past year or so, and that number is growing even more. Perhaps you are a new nurse navigator and are part of these statistics.

Something that has become a touchy issue in some work environments relates to territorial responsibilities. Who is to do what, when, where, for whom and, perhaps most importantly, why? There seems to be some gray areas when clearly defining the scope and skill set for oncology nurse navigators. This delineation can be especially tricky in center with navigators in various areas, several of whom will be involved in each patient’s care and support. Add to that an appointment scheduling coordinator, social worker, psychotherapist, and perhaps others, and it doesn’t take very long before you see the risk for redundancy, overlap, and confusion.

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