Standardizing the Role of the Oncology Patient Navigator

The George Washington University Cancer Institute has finalized 45 core competency statements for oncology patient navigators, who have become critical members of the health care team.

The George Washington University (GW) Cancer Institute has finalized 45 core competency statements for oncology patient navigators, who have become critical members of the healthcare team. These competency statements were published in the Journal of Oncology Navigation and Survivorship and were created through literature review, focus group data analysis, expert review, and a national survey of oncology patient navigation stakeholders.

"Patient navigation is a rapidly growing health profession given new accreditation standards from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. However, patient navigation suffers from a lack of standardization or regulation of any kind," said Mandi Pratt-Chapman, MA, lead author and director of the GW Cancer Institute, which is housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "This means that patient navigator practices vary widely, sometimes performing administrative duties that underutilize unique skills and sometimes performing services that should be left to clinically-licensed healthcare professionals. The GW Cancer Institute Core Competencies for Oncology Patient Navigators are the first-ever consensus-based standards for the field to advance the profession and ensure we optimize all members of the healthcare team to support great patient care."

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