National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators
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Mission Statement

NCONN to dissolve and puts full support behind ONS as the professional organizaiton for Oncology Nurse Navigators.

In 2007, five oncology nurses determined to bring awareness and support of nurses who guide patients and families through the continuum of cancer care came together in 2008 to form the National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators (NCONN), a professional non-profit association dedicated to supporting the emerging role of nurses navigating patients. Prior to NCONN’s formation, there was no formal entity devoted to the needs of this nursing role.

The mission of NCONN has always been “to promote excellence in oncology patient care by fostering collaborative relationships and professional development among oncology nurse navigators and all healthcare disciplines locally, regionally, and nationally.” This mission has been accomplished through the efforts of our membership and leaders over these past six years.

In order to bring recognized standards to the role of the nurse navigator, NCONN identified and established the first basic core competencies for the Oncology Nurse Navigator. NCONN understood the importance of bringing colleagues in this role together to network, share best practices and outcome metrics. NCONN quickly grew from five founders to over 150 members in its first year. NCONN held five conferences, with venues on both coasts and the central United States. Membership grew to over 1,200, including nurses in every aspect of this role. “Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

Oncology nurse navigators develop new programs and expand navigation programs. Awareness of the role and its impact on important outcomes among communities and cancer care delivery systems continues to expand.  In 2012, the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) mandated that Commission on Cancer-accredited facilities have navigation processes in place by 2015. In 2013, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) published core competencies and in 2014, published the first text on navigation: Oncology Nurse Navigation: Delivering Patient-Centered Care Across the Continuum.

NCONN began as grass roots, non-profit association. We pride ourselves in staying true to the original mission, working with many of the largest non-profit organizations to provide cancer patients with resources and support. Recognizing that the mission is accomplished, the NCONN Board of Directors determined that it is appropriate to dissolve at this time. It is our hope that dissolution of NCONN will also eliminate the confusion and fragmentation that members, colleagues, business and pharmaceutical companies have voiced to us over the years.

The NCONN leadership recognizes ONS’s increased support and educational efforts around this role and this organization wants to put our full support behind ONS as the professional organization that recognizes and satisfies educational and professional needs of new and experienced nurses in oncology nurse navigator roles. NCONN contributed critical elements to the foundation and early development of this role as the central outcome of its existence, with ONS as a guiding force for integrity and excellence in oncology patient care.
Warm regards,
Sharon Francz                                                               Cynthia Cantril
Co-founder and Executive Director                                President

Who is the Nurse Navigator

Oncology Nurse Navigator Definition:
The ONN serves as a single point of contact for patients and their families throughout their entire cancer care experience — and most importantly, is an advocate and personal care coach on the patient’s behalf.

The primary role of the navigator is to remove barriers and obstacles that patients encounter. Barriers may be real or perceived barriers. The navigator functions as an advocate for the patient and provides education to patients regarding their disease process, treatment, and side effect management and treatment options. Navigators link patients with resources that enable them to complete treatment and maintain or improve their quality of life. Navigators facilitate communication and act as a liaison with the health care team on behalf of the patient.