Based on the results of the oncology nurse navigator (ONN) role delineation survey and feedback from ONS membership, ONS evaluated and updated its ONN Core Competencies. Several significant changes were made.

New Expert Competencies

The biggest change was the addition of expert-level competencies. The main criteria that differentiates the expert from novice ONN is years of experience, demonstrated proficiency in the role, and ability to recognize and manage changes in navigation processes over time. The suggested amount of experience in the ONN role to achieve the expert level is three years. However, this is meant as a guide. Expert-level competencies focus more on processes on a broader scale, such as helping develop and analyze data from community needs assessments, conducting quality improvement for navigation programs, and supporting new ONNs.

Additional Novice Competencies

Additional competencies were added to the novice-level role to reflect ONNs’ growth and evolving focus. New and updated competencies provide more focus on shared decision making and goal setting with patients, health literacy, ensuring access for appropriate patients and community members, and teaching about genomic and molecular testing. In addition, insurance issues, other financial hardships, and related resources were added as key knowledge for ONNs.

Models Offer Visual Guide to Role

Two models are included in the ONN Core Competencies. The first is the ONN Professional Practice Framework, which demonstrates how the ONN works within two operational domains: the patient and the healthcare system. The second model, new to this update, is the ONN Care Model, which was developed to more clearly express how ONNs can have an impact in any or all phases of the cancer continuum.

Access the ONN Core Competencies.