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Becoming an Empowered Navigator

January 4, 2021 | AONN+ Blog | Tools & Resources
Featuring:
Rosie Kelly
Digital Content Specialist
The Lynx Group

The task of navigating a patient through something as difficult as cancer is daunting, but as cancer care professionals, we are ready to take on this task and assist our patients to the best of our ability. In order to be as prepared as possible to navigate someone through their cancer journey, we must equip ourselves with the right mentality, resources, and established authority among our cancer care team.

The Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+) understands the struggle to build and maintain a successful oncology navigation program, especially as acuity rises during the COVID-19 pandemic and more resources are needed now more than ever to provide safe care. As we adapt to this acuity, navigators are being pulled in many directions to assist in pandemic efforts in their organization. We are also faced with the new challenge of virtually navigating patients and protecting them from the risk of contracting COVID-19. We want you to feel empowered in your oncology navigation career, empowered to take the steps needed to provide great care for your patient, to broaden your range of skill sets with continuing education, and to create a name for yourself across the cancer care continuum.

AONN+ consists of members who can relate to your struggles and aim to provide you with tried- and-true tools and resources made by navigators for navigators. Taking advantage of these resources is the best way to be able to efficiently assist your patients, especially in a time where our work could be doubled or tripled. Building a successful navigation program takes time, resources, and measurements. AONN+’s navigator toolkits can get you started and provide invaluable resources to assist nurse navigators and patient navigators in the management of patient care. The toolkits cover a range of topics including COVID-19, lung cancer, a patient guide to support services, prostate cancer, and more.

When it comes to measuring the impact of your navigation program, turn to the Academy’s 2020 Navigation Metrics Toolkit. The creation of the standardized national metrics to measure programmatic success is vital to coordinating high-quality, team-based care and demonstrating the sustainability of navigation programs. For oncology nurse and patient navigators, active participation in data collection, analytics, and reporting outcomes, are not added responsibilities, but are already integrated into the role. These metrics are integral in determining the return on investment of the role of a nurse or patient navigator. Navigation practices that use quality navigation measures are transformative in evaluating professional practice and care delivery and defining oncology navigation practice and outcomes.

The 2020 AONN+ Navigation Metrics Toolkit has identified 35 evidence-based navigation metrics that are relevant to cancer care and demonstrate the value of an oncology navigation program. This toolkit was developed to help all cancer care professionals, including navigators, oncology program administrators, healthcare executives, and other clinicians who are linked to navigation. The toolkit helps the cancer care team understand and support the integration of these standardized metrics into their normal business process, providing guidance on how to select, implement, report, and utilize them as you engage in quality performance improvement and strategic decision-making.

While we need to empower ourselves as navigators, we also need to empower our patients. At the time of diagnosis, patients and their family members often feel that they no longer have control over their life or their destiny. One resource you can provide to patients is CONQUER: the patient voice. CONQUER magazine resources include feature articles written by and for patients with cancer, survivors, nurse navigators, and other oncology team members. CONQUER magazine is an AONN+ resource created to address the issues that patients, their family members, and caregivers face every day in an easy-to-read format. Issues include patient stories, information on access to care, and articles on lifestyle topics such as nutrition, stress management, personal finance, and legal and employer issues. AONN+ members can receive 25 free copies of each CONQUER issue to hand out to their patients as a gift that will inspire them to empower themselves. Providing quality education and access to a coordinated care delivery system is the best way to give back to a patient and allow them to feel more control as they go through their treatment journey.

No one understands and supports the needs of the cancer care team and their patients more than AONN+, the only professional organization dedicated to promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators in the cancer care continuum. By giving you, the navigator, resources you need, AONN+ is giving you the gift of empowering yourself. You have the ability to be empowered in your career, to empower your cancer care team with information from all sides to provide excellent care, and you are empowering your patients to take control of their cancer care journey and the future that awaits them.

Become an AONN+ member today to receive access to a knowledge-sharing oncology navigator network, innovative conferences and webinars, and evolving resources and tools to help you in your navigator journey.

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