Elevating the Profession of Navigation
Although it took some time for navigation to be recognized as an actual profession, once oncology nurse navigation became more established and recognized through the development and implementation of the AONN+ organization, it now is recognized as a specialty that oncology nurses can choose to aspire to. Patient (lay) navigation is a profession as well; however, the credentialing and certification process is quite different. For the purpose of this chapter’s discussion, the primary focus will be on oncology nurse navigation and how ONNs can climb a career ladder of their own creation and choosing while simultaneously elevating the profession of navigation globally. Key elements to successfully achieving career goals associated or starting with navigation require various skills; these include critical thinking, problem-solving, ethics, team building, leadership skills, professional development, and others. The value of certification will also be discussed. Today the only national organization devoted to the profession of navigation for nurse navigators as well as patient navigators is the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+). This organization is continuously striving to have navigators recognized as valuable members of an oncology multidisciplinary team. What the membership’s goals and needs are is what the organization works to provide on a continuous basis. It provides mentorship for those navigators needing support as they expand their knowledge and experiences, educates and keeps its membership abreast of the newest information and quality improvement results, and provides information on research outcomes focused on navigation. It also provides education about changes in treatment modalities for different types of cancer, updates in clinical standards as they occur, the ability to measure one’s own performance through the use of evidence-based quality metrics, strategic information about the world and economics of oncology care, and opportunities to network with others so no one spends time reinventing the wheel.
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