(May 7, 2018)—From diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship, the cancer journey is extremely complex for patients. According to the Oncology Nursing Society’s (ONS’s) new position statement, “Role of the Oncology Nurse Navigator Throughout the Cancer Trajectory,” oncology nurse navigators (ONNs) are crucial to the successful outcomes of patients with cancer. Through clinical expertise, care coordination skills, and leadership abilities, ONNs are able to guide their patients during the cancer trajectory.
Healthcare institutions are also embracing ONNs because of their abilities to reduce costs through lowered rates of emergency department visits, fewer patient readmissions, and decreased migration for newly diagnosed patients. ONNs aim to lower cancer morbidity and mortality by reducing barriers and improving access to necessary cancer care interventions. Through the work of ONNs, patients are connected to financial assistance resources, psychological specialists, and other integral healthcare professionals who simplify issues related to communication and the healthcare delivery system.
“Cancer care is complex, requiring multiple decisions and continued transitions of care,” ONS President Susan Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, ACNS-BC, FAAN, said. “Patients are often overwhelmed by the process, leading to fragmented care. Oncology nurse navigators have the clinical expertise needed to assist individuals and overcome barriers to care. Throughout the cancer continuum, they provide education and support, as well as facilitate decision making so patients have timely access to quality care resources.”
According to the new position statement, ONNs are uniquely able to tailor their roles to meet the specific needs of patients and caregivers. They provide holistic assessments, general and specific education, and decision-making support at critical times in the cancer trajectory. To maintain excellence and provide the highest level of care for patients, ONS has provided ONNs with detailed core competencies for practice.
“Data continue to emerge that validates the benefits of navigation to patients and to institutions,” Barbara Lubjeko, MS, RN, oncology clinical specialist at ONS, said. “As such, ONNs—no matter the setting—should practice in accordance with ONS’s Oncology Nurse Navigator Core Competencies in coordination of care, communication, education, and their professional role.”
ONS is a professional association of more than 39,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org
Media Contact: Aaron Borchert
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