Dear Navigators, Social Workers, Administrators, and Clinical Staff,
Have you identified a gap in care, a gap in knowledge, or a problem in your clinical practice that needs solving? What tactics have you implemented in your practice setting that have improved patient care? What circumstance inspired you to make a change in your practice?
Take some time to consider these questions. When the answers come, ask yourself this next question, “Can I conduct a research project on this topic?” In doing so, you will provide evidence of best practices to the growing navigation community. Setting a goal to publish your research can be a daunting task, but taking on a research project and publishing your findings is a vital component to improving patient care as well as advancing the navigation profession.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to take this on alone. In fact, consider the possibility of working with your multidisciplinary team, or even within your navigation team, to launch a study. You shouldn’t be intimidated by the prospect of “conducting research”—my bet is that you are likely familiar with terms such as “quality improvement,” “performance improvement,” “improving patient care,” or “improving outcomes.” Well, all these terms are related to or require research. The components of a research project include defining a problem, determining goals, implementing strategies to effect change, and measuring outcomes. Navigation research includes exploring any area of clinical practice that may improve patient outcomes and expand the current body of knowledge in the literature.
I want to encourage you to identify a research topic, conduct a study, and report your findings. Submit your paper for publishing consideration in JONS. Not sure how to start? We have resources to help. For more information, visit us at www.jons-online.com and the AONN+ website at www.aonnonline.org.
Together we can advance nurse and patient navigation, enrich the literature, learn best practices from each other, and ultimately improve the lives of patients.
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer of Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions; Co-Founder of AONN+.