Professional Oncology Navigation Task Force Releases Oncology Navigation Standards of Practice

March 29, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PA—March 28, 2022—Today, six oncology-focused professional and patient organizations, including the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), published standards for use in oncology navigation care. With input from many major navigation-focused disciplines, the standards guide best practices for care providers across cancer settings.

The Oncology Navigation Standards of Professional Practice were created by the Professional Oncology Navigation Task Force to provide clinical oncology nurse navigators, social work navigators, and patient navigators with clear information regarding best practices in professional care. The standards describe the knowledge and skills that all professional navigators should possess to deliver high-quality, competent, and ethical services to people affect by cancer. They establish benchmarks for healthcare employers and provide information for policy- and decision-makers, healthcare professionals, and the public to understand the role of professional oncology navigators. The standards are intended to guide and may be applied differently, as appropriate, in diverse settings.

Four professional organizations contributed to the Oncology Navigation Standards for Professional Practice: ONS, the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+), the Association of Oncology Social Work, and the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses. The Cancer Support Community and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts patient organizations were also involved in its development, and all of the organizations’ work built on the foundational steps from the Biden Cancer Initiative Working Group on Patient Navigation. ONS and all contributors also recognize the individuals and organizations that reviewed and gave feedback during the standards’ open comment period.

“For too long, patients have been on their own after a cancer diagnosis. In the Cancer Moonshot and the Biden Cancer Initiative, the need for help navigating the cancer care system was top of mind in every meeting we held with patients and their caregivers,” Greg Simon, former executive director of the White House Cancer Moonshot and former president of the Biden Cancer Initiative, said. “The Professional Oncology Navigation Task Force has done every cancer patient a true service by delineating the standards we expect in patient navigators, by putting patients at the center of those standards, and by laying out a true 360-degree holistic view of the people we call patients.”

The standards’ publication is well-timed for oncology navigation professional practice, given the Biden-Harris administration’s renewal of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

“These standards are the result of an important collaboration among nursing, social work, and patient services organizations. I am so pleased that the work that began during the Obama’s administration Cancer Moonshot and the Biden Cancer Initiative has continued as an independent process with the commitment of our organizations,” Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, ONS chief executive officer, said. “Having one set of standards brings clarity to the cancer care community and supports organizations as they develop their navigation programs.” 

Learn more about the Oncology Navigation Standards for Professional Practice in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

ONS is a professional association that represents 100,000 nurses and is the professional home to more than 35,000 members. ONS is 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 ons.org 


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