Sixth Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference Draws More than 700 Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators from Around the World

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Oncology navigation professionals from around the world recently converged on Atlanta for the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators’® (AONN+) Sixth Annual Navigation and Survivorship Conference. This much anticipated event brought together more than 700 nurse and patient navigators for four days of education, networking, insight and inspiration.

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It is extremely important for patients and cancer institutions to know that their navigation team has a baseline knowledge of general oncology navigation in order to provide the best care possible. This is why we have developed this certification.

Oncology navigation professionals from around the world recently converged on Atlanta for the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators’® (AONN+) Sixth Annual Navigation and Survivorship Conference. This much anticipated event brought together more than 700 nurse and patient navigators for four days of education, networking, insight and inspiration.

Considered by many attendees to be the “best yet,” the Sixth Annual Conference, which took place Oct. 1 – 4, 2015, featured presentations covering some of the hottest topics in the field of oncology navigation including: intimacy following cancer treatment; genetic and genomic testing; survivorship; palliative care; and cancer prehabilitation and rehabilitation.

Continued professional development and certification were two of the major themes discussed over the four days. As a globally recognized leader in oncology navigation, AONN+ is the only professional society dedicated to providing navigators with an official certification designation.

At this year’s conference, AONN+ administered the Oncology Nurse Navigator-Certified Generalist™ (ONN-CG) beta test. AONN+’s certification effort is spearheaded by a specially selected task force comprised of AONN+ leadership and respected educational professionals.

“It is extremely important for patients and cancer institutions to know that the members of their navigation team have a baseline knowledge of general oncology navigation in order to provide the best care possible,” said Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, Program Director and Co-Founder of AONN+. “This is why we have developed this certification. We also intend to develop tumor-specific certification exams in 2016 and beyond.” The first official certification exam will be administered in November 2016. More information on oncology navigation certification can be found at https://www.aonnonline.org/.

Other highlights of the event included keynote presentations by Stupid Cancer® Founder and CEO Matthew Zachary and his colleague David Fuehrer, Product Officer, Instapeer, as well as Dan Shapiro, PhD, Vice Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs, Penn State College of Medicine.

For the first time, this year’s conference offered a dedicated track for patient navigators to address the specific challenges and concerns of non-clinically licensed professionals who work in this rapidly growing profession. This track was very well attended with many expressing their appreciation for the opportunity to network and interact with others in the same line of work.

Another first for the conference was the presentation of the inaugural Hero of Hope™ award, which recognizes a person living with cancer who is making an outstanding contribution to his/her community. This year’s recipient was David Caldarella of Long Beach Island, NJ, a survivor of stage IV head and neck cancer and founder of “David’s Dream and Believe,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with cancer in New Jersey address financial barriers to treatment. More than 50 nominations – representing all regions of the U.S. – were received for this award.

The Fifth Annual Oncology Nursing Excellence™ (ONE) Award was also presented during the conference to Barbara Antolino-Smith, RN, BSN, CPN, Pediatric Oncology Nurse, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Hershey, Pa. ONE Award winners are nominated by their peers for their leadership, compassion and commitment to evidence-based practices.

Nearly 60 posters were presented during the conference. Six of these received top honors in the following categories:

  •     Patient Education: Cheryl Bellomo, RN, BSN, OCN, CN-BN, Oncology Nurse Navigator, Intermountain Southwest Cancer Clinic at Valley View Medical Center, Cedar City, UT
  •     Psychological Support: Medha Sutliff, Northeast Regional Field Manager, Young Survival Coalition, New York City
  •     Quality, Outcomes, and Performance Improvement: Catherine Bouvier, Director, Neuroendocrine Tumor Patient Foundation, Hockley Heath, UK
  •     Original Research on Navigation Programs: Margaret Rummel, BSN, MHA, OCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator, Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia
  •     Original Research on Survivorship Programs: Barbara Rizzo McHale, RN, BS, OCN, CBCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator, Samaritan Hospital Cancer Treatment Center, Troy, NY
  •     Community Outreach and Screening Programs: Kristi Griffith, MSN, RN, CHPN, Oncology Nurse Navigator, Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, Dallas

In addition to oncology nurse and patient navigators, conference attendees included oncology social workers, case managers, oncology nurses, nurse practitioners, practice managers and physicians.

The Seventh Annual Navigation and Survivorship Conference will be held in Las Vegas, November 17 – 20, 2016.

About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators® (https://www.aonnonline.org/).
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+) is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 5,500 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process.

The Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship® (http://www.jons-online.com) is the official publication of AONN+. It is published six times a year and features topics related to patient navigation and survivorship care. JONS offers original research, best practices, interviews, case reports and study highlights as well as a platform through which navigators can share research and views on navigation and survivorship issues.

CONQUER: the patient voice™ magazine (http://www.conquer-magazine.com) is the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) premier forum for patients with cancer. CONQUER features articles written by and for patients with cancer, survivors, nurse navigators, and other oncology team members. This magazine addresses the issues that patients, their family members, and caregivers face every day in an easy-to-read format. Issues include interviews with patients with cancer, information on access to care, and articles on lifestyle topics such as nutrition, stress management, personal finance, and legal and employer issues. CONQUER also features patient stories that are nominated for the AONN+ HERO OF HOPE™ award, which are presented at the AONN+ Annual Conference. All stories are compiled in a special issue of CONQUER at the end of the year.

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