Dear Navigators, Social Workers, Administrators, and Clinical Staff,
We are living in a time that is filled with multiple challenges. I want to bring to your attention that the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) has created a virtual toolkit of information for our membership regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find this COVID-19 Navigator Toolkit at AONNonline.org. I encourage you to take advantage of this resource as you navigate your patients.
We also have released our position statement on the state of affairs across our country regarding racial and health inequities. I encourage all of our members to read this statement so you are aware of our support for change.
AONN+ Statement of Professional Responsibility to Ensure Racial and Health Equity
The AONN+ is dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life. We are committed to supporting the professional workforce that has historically served cancer patients in greatest need. This includes patients of color who have long dealt with systemic and institutional injustices and racial inequities. These impacts have been well documented in our health and cancer care systems and were the catalyst to create the profession of navigation.
We stand at a moment of national tragedy, built on a history of racial injustice. This is compounded by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Navigators work to make our healthcare system a more just and equitable place as they help patients identify personal strengths to empower their preference and priorities. They bear witness to the extraordinary challenges facing all cancer patients. A core competency of patient navigation is to demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including, but not limited to, diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, age, culture, religion, abilities, and sexual orientation. With this basic value, all navigators work to expose health inequities and find solutions to ensure that all people have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives as they respond to patient needs and barriers. The need for this work has never been more profound. AONN+ implores all navigators to recommit in this moment to their professional obligations to advance racial and health equity.
Please be safe and well as you support your cancer patients at a time in our country when navigation is needed more than ever.
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+.