Academic Nurse Navigation: Unique Aspects and Strategies for Success

Eleanor Miller

Heather Sheaffer

nurse navigation, academic cancer center, navigation program, care coordination
CJON 2020, 24(5), 579-581. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.579-581

The role and competencies of the oncology nurse navigator (ONN) are well defined and emphasize education, communication, and collaboration to support patients, families, and caregivers in overcoming barriers within healthcare systems. The authors describe the operationalization of the ONN role within a large academic health system and present a case study that illustrates the work of a team of navigators. The importance of co-navigating individuals with their community-based navigators and healthcare teams is presented, emphasizing the significance of interprofessional collaboration to support continuity of care for individuals with cancer.


  • Nurse navigation is a well-defined concept in oncology care, yet operationalization of the role may vary by health settings.
  • In the academic medical setting, navigation focuses on supporting individuals who are primarily managed within the health system, as well as those referred from external providers for clinical trials, second opinions, or specialty care.
  • Co-navigation with community-based nurse navigators is pivotal to ensure continuity of care for individuals with cancer.
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