More than 900 nurse and patient navigators converged on the Las Vegas Aria today to kick off AONN+’s Seventh Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference! For participants, the day began with the long-awaited nurse navigation and patient navigation certification exams. These are the industry’s first certifications specifically for navigators, and AONN+ is honored to be setting the standard in this area.
Following lunch, guests spent the afternoon reconnecting with friends and enjoying educational presentations given by colleagues and experts in navigation.
During the first session of AONN+’s Seventh Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference, Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, MA, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Oncology, University of Kansas Cancer Center, and Founder and CEO, Cancer Survivorship Training, discussed the state of survivorship care in the United States, including the latest research targets and quality measures. “Navigation plays a very big role in the oncology care model,” said Klemp.
Staci Oertle, ANP-BC, MSN, OCN, began her portion of the presentation by talking about program development. She detailed her survivorship process map and how to send people through the process. She also shared her survivorship care plans.
Jennifer then walked attendees through accepted guidelines for initiating survivorship – focusing on the development and review of the survivorship care plan. She talked about several navigator-developed programs, as well as how the University of Kansas Cancer Center has its own program set-up. She concluded her discussion by leaving navigators with strategies that they can employ to measure their organization’s return on investment.
Dwana “Dee” Calhoun, MS, SelfMade Health Network (CDC National Disparity Network), talked about how cancer mortality has become a leading cause of death in 22 states. We have a lot of work ahead of us, said Calhoun. She reviewed some landmark studies and reports on poor and underserved populations, and the barriers these groups face. She spoke of the history of the first patient navigation model developed by Harold Freeman, MD, and the various components it covered. She went on to discuss the evolution of patient navigation. She spoke of challenges to achieving good patient outcomes, including social, environmental, and health system factors. She then discussed cancer health disparities.
Nina Miller, MSSW, OSW-C, American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, discussed with the audience the importance of standard setting and community assessment in navigation. She reviewed the way that the Commission on Cancer’s Continuum of Care Standards work together to advance patient care and outlined the role of the psychosocial distress screening and survivorship care plan in outcomes. She talked about when a navigator should give patients the survivorship plan.
Cheryl Bellomo, MSN, RN, OCN, Intermountain Southwest Cancer Center, presented on the nurse navigator’s role in helping patients adhere to their oral chemotherapy protocol.
During this session, Cheryl talked about the various barriers that patients encounter when taking oral chemotherapy. She outlined how the nurse navigator can help patients overcome these challenges, and the various tools that are available to assist them in facilitating medication adherence in their patients. “Education is a cornerstone to oral chemotherapy,” she said. Cheryl also presented the results of a pilot project that aims to improve nurses’ education as well as the interventions used to promote symptom management and medication adherence. “We need to make interventions more patient-centered,” she said about the important role the patient plays during treatment.
Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, Program Director and Co-Founder of AONN+, talked about the challenges associated with managing cancer at work, including mortality.
Lillie detailed how several providers at her center passed away from cancer. “We weren’t going to close the cancer center,” explained Lillie. “We had to figure out how to get through as our employees were going through this.” Herself a cancer survivor, she explained her philosophy on the disease. “I only give cancer the amount of time I have to give to it.” She discussed the way that a cancer diagnosis affects both the employer and the employee. Lillie also introduced Managing Cancer at Work, a platform created by Johns Hopkins that provides employees with navigation assistance. Through this service, employees can receive education, one-on-one support, and a host of other navigation-related services. Managing Cancer at Work is offered by employers as part of their benefits package.
During the Opening Remarks session, Lillie returned to the stage and was joined by Sharon Gentry, RN, MSN, AOCN, CBCN, of the AONN+ Leadership Council. Together they welcomed guests to AONN+’s Seventh Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference and talked about how the conference has grown over the last few years and specially thanked our sponsors for their support.
Lillie then introduced Crystal Dugger, Assistant Vice President, Clinical Operations, Sarah Cannon, who took to the stage to talk about the exciting relationship between her organization and AONN+ and the Cancer Moonshot.
This was followed by 3 leaders of the Evidence into Practice Committee, who introduced the Academy’s Standardized Evidence-Based Navigation Metrics.
There is a gap in the literature regarding the key areas that measure the success of navigation programs. Tricia Strusowski, MS, RN, Manager, Oncology Solutions, LLC; Elaine Sein, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN; and Danelle Johnston, RN, MSN, OCN, CBCN, Director of Navigation, Sarah Cannon, took to the stage to discuss how AONN+ is overcoming these through its Standardized Metrics Task Force. Formed in 2015, the task force is charged with developing AONN+’s standardized metrics for navigation. To accomplish this, the task force began with reviews of literature and clinical practice. They held meetings and participated in a Standardized Metrics Retreat earlier this year. During this retreat, the team identified and documented 35 new metrics – based on AONN+’s Certification Domains – for navigation that concentrated on return on investment, patient experience, and clinical outcomes.
The evening closed with a cocktail reception for guests and the keynote presentation given by Mercedes Ramirez Johnson, BS, Leadership & Workplace Safety Speaker, who took to the stage for an engaging and insightful keynote presentation titled Get It Right Today, Not Tomorrow. Mercedes recalled her harrowing experience of being in a plane crash that only saw 3 other survivors in a plane carrying 165 people. She spoke of her journey of discovery by choosing to work with intention, choosing to gain perspective, and choosing to persevere, and she wanted people in the audience to leave the presentation with these characteristics as well.
On Friday, attendees can look forward to many great N.E.X.T. Day sessions and more excellent networking opportunities. Be sure to get some rest tonight; it’s going to be a busy weekend!