AONN+ has been very busy this year with a lot of exciting initiatives and events! Our biggest initiative this year has been the development of the official certification programs and exams for the certification of general oncology nurse navigators (ON-CG) and patient navigators (OPN-CG). Recognizing the importance of navigation professionals having their own certification program has been a high priority for us on behalf of all of you. These certification programs will help navigators nationally provide consistency and a clearer delineation of responsibilities and functions. It also bolsters your career development, setting navigation as a profession separate and apart from other oncology professional positions. Certification also supports your mission of quality patient care, barrier identification and elimination, care coordination, patient advocacy, and efficiency in the care delivery process. We believe certification is so important that we are not charging a separate fee for taking the exam; it’s a “built in” benefit you receive as a member.
AONN+ is working on a variety of other projects, and some of the highlights thus far this year include:
We have different ways to network, including the Local Navigator Networks (previously referred to as local chapters), which allow navigators to meet with peers and colleagues to discuss ongoing challenges and develop solutions at the local level. We also continue to offer our forums for people to engage in remote discussions. Continued educational content is also a focus for our Local Navigator Networks. It is great to see continued growth in the number of networks we have across the country too.
We are also going to be celebrating our annual Oncology Nurse Excellence (ONE) and Hero of Hope awards again this year. Voting begins in August, and both award ceremonies will be held at this year’s conference in Las Vegas. Speaking of which, have you registered for the annual conference yet? Go here to check it out!
We created a new logo for the Academy, which moved the placement of our plus sign to inside the O of the AONN+ name. However, it is important to note that we are still the same organization dedicated to serving both oncology nurse navigators and patient navigators.
The East Coast Regional Meeting in New Orleans in May 2016 was well-attended and offered a variety of topics that led to excellent group discussions. One of the meeting’s highlights was the successful completion of the beta test for patient navigator certification. Participants are looking forward to the finalized certification test at the annual conference in Las Vegas. To view more conference highlights, click here.
The Navigation Metrics Retreat Committee, which is a special project that falls under the Evidence Into Practice Committee, met in Philadelphia recently to discuss further the development of their standardized evidence-based navigation metrics concept for all navigation programs. They continue to assess all aspects of the continuum of care, so stay tuned for more information as progress is made.
AONN+ became the 53rd member of the Commission on Cancer (CoC), and Lillie Shockney, our program director, has been serving as the CoC fellow representing the Academy. She serves on the Education Committee and the Accreditation Committee and participates in two conference calls monthly as well as attends CoC conferences semiannually, with the first conference having taken place in May 2016 in Chicago. It was heart-warming to see how enthusiastic and supportive the CoC members were—which consists of a majority of surgical and medical oncology physicians—regarding the value of navigation to the improve patient care experience and outcomes. She will keep us informed of other activities the CoC is working on, including those designed to improve patient care.
Lillie has been active with the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) and serves on several of their work groups. She has been successful in having the ACCC recognize AONN+ as the organization to turn to when an ACCC member institution is seeking help developing or expanding their navigation programs. AONN+ is also working with them on a special project that is focused on patient engagement with newly diagnosed stage IV breast cancer patients, known as the Dandelion Project.
The Academy is also working hard behind the scenes on redesigning the website for a better user experience.
For those of you who have colleagues or friends who are not AONN+ members, please feel free to pass this along to them and let them know how your organization represents you and this important and emerging industry.