The Oncology Nursing Society, the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW), and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) released a joint position statement on the role of oncology nursing and oncology social work in patient navigation.
A news release notes that the joint position is a direct result of a think tank that convened in Pittsburgh in June 2009, during which representatives from ONS and AOSW worked collaboratively, along with representation from NASW, to discuss the role of patient navigation and identify needs of the health care professional in this emerging new role for oncology nurses and social workers as they care for patients from pre-diagnosis through all phases of the cancer experience.
Pamela “PJ” Haylock, PhD, RN, representing ONS, and Pam Murph, LSCW, representing AOSW, were co-chairs of the joint Patient Navigation Think Tank.
“This position is a foundational statement for each of these professional organizations,” Ms. Haylock said. “It offers guidance for strategic planning and subsequent efforts to define and support development of patient navigation preparatory programs, roles, and services for a variety of cancer care settings.”
Added Ms. Murph: “I am excited that AOSW, ONS, and NASW were able to come together for this wonderful collaborative effort. Through this, we have constructed a position on patient navigation that our memberships, as well as other professional colleagues in social work and nursing, will be able to utilize as patient navigation continues to emerge. Patient navigation is a process that is essential in cancer care, and in this position statement, we have laid out what we see as organizations to be integral to patient navigation.”
Also commenting in the news release was Senior NASW Practice Associate Karyn Walsh, ACSW, LCSW, who said, “NASW is proud to be at the forefront of such important discussions on the social work role in patient navigation. Social workers have functioned as navigators with patients for many years and will continue to practice in this professional role. NASW is proud to collaborate with ONS and AOSW in the publication of this consensus paper on the position of patient navigation.”
The full position statement can be viewed at each organization's websites: ons.org, aosw.org, and naswdc.org.