Standardizing Roles: Evaluating Oncology Nurse Navigator Clarity, Educational Preparation, and Scope of Work Within Two Healthcare Systems

Cynthia Cantril

Deborah Christensen

Elizabeth Moore

oncology nurse navigator, role standardization, certification, navigation
CJON 2019, 23(1), 52-59. DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.52-59

Background: Since the introduction of patient navigation, challenges persist in standardizing the oncology nurse navigator (ONN) role, educational preparation, and scope of work.

Objectives: With a goal of systemwide understanding of navigation services, two healthcare institutions examined the educational preparation, responsibilities, and understanding of the ONN role.

Methods: Two nurse leaders in navigation concurrently used surveys, focus groups, and interprofessional discussions to assess the current state of navigation within their comparable organizations. They aggregated their findings, identified commonalities, and shared standardization approaches.

Findings: Data demonstrated noteworthy variation in ONNs’ academic preparation, professional certifications, job titles, and scope of work. Additional findings included overall lack of understanding of the role and responsibilities of ONNs, inconsistent role preparation and implementation, random tracking of methods and metrics, and insufficient job-related resources.

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