New at Navigation

AONN+ Blog published on November 10, 2011 in Novice Navigators
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 you've recently become a nurse navigator specializing in an area of oncology, you are among a growing number of nurses who have zeroed in on a new specialty, helping your patient travel along a pathway that can be riddled with confusing information, a myriad of decisions to be made regarding treatment, and other significant decision making along the way. It's rewarding when it works well. It can be frustrating for everyone when it doesn't.

Something that I recommend to anyone just embarking on a nurse navigator role is this-you cannot navigate a patient if you haven't walked in her shoes. No, you don't have to have had the disease she has, but you do have to have a bird's eye view of what this journey looks like through the eyes of a patient. So step 1-follow a patient, preferably several different patients, along the care continuum beginning with the screening process (ie, getting scheduled for a screening mammogram, colonoscopy, Pap smear, etc) and document the entire process all the way through. By doing so, you will be able to identify the inefficiencies that exist along the way, the delays in treatment, barriers to decision making, access to care issues, patient compliance problems due to lack of understanding of the importance of following treatment recommendations and other issues that will become your responsibility to help address. Removing barriers to care is a key function in your new job as nurse navigator. Some barriers may seem unsurmountable; others may be an easy fix. As patient advocate (which you are), your charge will be to work around barriers or eliminate them, so that she can get the care she needs.

Related Articles
‘Tis the (Vaccine) Season: COVID, Flu, and RSV Vaccines for Navigators & Their Patients
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Navigation & Survivorship News published on September 20, 2023 in Insights into Navigation
Three vaccines are being recommended this year: COVID, flu, and RSV. Each vaccine has its own unique considerations that both navigators and patients should be familiar with. Read on for a breakdown of each vaccine along with tips on how navigators can set the best examples for their oncology patients.
Partnering With Home Healthcare Nurses to Address Our Patients’ Unmet—or Undiscussed—Needs: What Nurse Navigators Can Learn from Home Healthcare Nurses
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Navigation & Survivorship News published on August 22, 2023 in Insights into Navigation
Every member of a patient’s treatment team hopes their patient is in a clean, safe environment that enables them to stay on treatment and promote general well-being. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Home healthcare nurses can see things that patients didn’t reveal themselves—maybe they simply forgot to mention something, or they were embarrassed to do so. Read on to learn the value of partnering with home healthcare nurses to best address your patient’s unmet needs.
Influenced Decision-Making: The Considerations Patients Weigh Amidst Selecting Treatment
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Navigation & Survivorship News published on July 26, 2023 in Insights into Navigation
The decisions our patients make about their treatment are deeply personal. They might select one treatment plan over another based on how they process information, their experiences with cancer, and their life goals. Lillie shares a few recent examples of the decisions her patients have made that are both in line with and against their treatment team’s suggestion.