Welcome to a new 2018 local navigator network (LNN)—East Tennessee! Thank you to Debbie Bowles for facilitating the start of this group in the Knoxville, Johnson City, Crossville, Chattanooga, Oak Ridge, Morristown, Sevierville, Alcoa, and Loudoun areas of Tennessee so local oncology nurses and patient navigators can meet and work together to meet the needs of patients and families.
Many oncology navigators ask how to get an LNN started, and Debbie set a great example. She reached out to the navigators she knew and asked for a “snowball” effect by inviting other navigators they knew and asking them to get involved! Although some might have ended up being invited more than once, it is best to get several invites rather than none at all.
To start the first meeting, Debbie introduced the Cancer Support Community (CSC), which has events patients can attend and in which they can participate with other patients. CSC also hosts events for children and parents of people who are diagnosed with cancer. This is a great way to share resources!
The LNN submission form calls for a mission and vision statement that is reflective of AONN+. It can be a daunting task before the first meeting, so Debbie placed this on the agenda, and the group agreed on a mission and vision that encompassed their ideas for enhancing patient-centered care.
Another first meeting idea is to discuss the best times throughout the year for the 4 required meetings. Also, leadership structure is a common first meeting agenda item. Some LNNs go with a more formal organization setup, with a president, a vice president or president-elect, a secretary, and membership, whereas other LNNs go with a leader or co-leaders. This group elected to have a president, a vice president, and a secretary. AONN+ provides flexibility in leadership structure but suggests a secretary who can record LNN activities for the meeting reports and annual summary. Often, this can be overwhelming at the first gathering, so the East Tennessee Navigator Network sent out a description of leadership roles and asked members to respond with their nominations.
With that in mind, congratulations is in order for the LNN’s first leaders, including President Shila Newman, Vice President Sylvia Waters, and Secretary Lucy Parham! The East Tennessee Navigator Network decided that all people holding leadership roles must be an AONN+ member or become one, as AONN+ asks that the leader be an active member. The option is to add more leadership roles later, such as community outreach, social media chair, and so on, as the LNN grows.
AONN+ looks forward to hearing more about the successes of the East Tennessee LNN!