An informative article on the development of a cancer resource center in a Texas border community demonstrates how it is possible to provide cancer resources to patients in rural areas. The navigator in this community conducted an effective needs assessment, joined forces with local stakeholders, and was innovative in how to assess and deliver the resources that patients with cancer need for education and to overcome barriers to care. If you or part of your health system is in a rural area, this approach may serve as a template for you to achieve the same outcomes on behalf of the patients you navigate.
There is also a comprehensive article on patient experience mapping. We have been encouraging all navigators to review and document how their patients with cancer move through the healthcare delivery system so that opportunities for improvement can be identified and addressed. Well, that is what The George Washington University Cancer Institute did. The team there examined processes used for transitioning a patient throughout the cancer care continuum, identified gaps in care and inefficiencies in care coordination, and designed a revised flow process. Remember, we cannot manage what we do not measure, and we should never assume that we know how a process is functioning based on what people assume is happening. This is a great example of organizational management, one of the domains you will learn more about as you participate in our upcoming webinars in preparation for taking the first certification exam for oncology nurse navigators.
Read a personal story by Staci K. Oertle, ANP-BC, MSN, OCN, as to why she became a nurse and what her experiences through her nursing career have taught her. You may even share similar experiences! It is great to learn more about one of our Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) members, and this member has been very active on our Quality, Outcomes, and Performance Improvement Committee as well.
Also, hear from Jessica Engel, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCNP, who received the Oncology Nurse Excellence Award at our 2014 AONN+ conference. Her story will inspire you!
You will also find in this issue an interview that was conducted with me, and I share where I see the future of cancer care going, the valuable impact navigation can have on this future, and the importance of thinking in innovative ways to address the needs of our future patients with cancer.
Last but not least, I am excited to share that we are responding to the outcry from our navigators who are on the West Coast. Coming up this year in May, we will be holding our first regional AONN+ conference in Seattle, WA. If you work or live in that region of the country, I hope you plan to attend. We have been diligently working on a great program, and I am looking forward to it!<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span>
Take care, stay warm, and keep navigating!