Background: The care of patients with cancer has evolved to include various lay and professional roles to enhance care coordination with the focus on delivering patient-centered care. Oncology nurses in the role of oncology nurse navigators (ONNs) contribute to the delivery of patient-centered care by guiding patients and families through the cancer continuum and providing resources to overcome system and practical barriers and to enhance psychosocial support and cancer-specific education. However, the role of the ONN is often defined differently depending on the practice setting and institutional policy. The result is an inconsistent assortment of role functions and educational backgrounds.
Objectives: This article aims to promote standardization of the role of the ONN as well as the structure and boundaries of how ONNs function.
Methods: A project team was established by the Oncology Nursing Society to develop a professional practice framework and to identify core competencies for use by ONNs across a variety of practice settings.
Findings: The development of core competencies as well as examples of how the core competencies can be applied to ONN practice will help to define the ONN role and better serve the needs of patients with cancer, their families, and their caregivers.