When I think of AONN+, the first thing that comes to mind for me is one word – empowerment. AONN+ has been a part of my professional career since the first moment I became a nurse navigator. At the time, my manager encouraged me to join AONN+ to network with others, and to have access to current, relevant information on my position and potential impacts for patient care. In other words, joining AONN+ would make me a better navigator by giving me access to peers, colleagues, and tools to do my job.
When I first joined the organization, I was a fairly novice nurse and a brand-new navigator. The process of becoming a better navigator involved a two-way feedback loop where I connected with the organization and the organization connected with me. Since the beginning, I have sought out opportunities to grow, and AONN+ has given me every possible way to achieve this goal.
Over the years, I have participated in countless AONN+ engagements such as the conferences, advisory boards, and publications. The most recent of those engagements was the Cancer Advocacy & Patient Education (CAPE) CLL project.
One of the most exciting parts of the CAPE CLL project is the feeling that I am contributing to the oncology navigation profession in such a way that will impact patients and their families. Certain types of cancer, such as CLL, may be chronic in nature. With constant changes in evidence-based treatments and availability of resources, the CAPE platform is one way that navigators (and other oncology professionals) ensure that evidence-based information and resources are available for both patients and their families. In working to develop this tool, myself, AONN+ leaders, and other navigation professionals collaborated to work toward a streamlined platform that incorporated everything that newly diagnosed patients and their families would need to know.
Involvement in projects such as CAPE CLL gives navigators a voice – one that is incredibly valuable as they are on the frontlines of caring for complex oncology patients who are being diagnosed with cancer every single day. This voice is more than a personal opinion or experience – it is also one that is backed by a community of fellow oncology navigators supported by best practices. The empowerment that one navigator feels is contagious, as they share opportunities and insight with peers at their own organization and within their professional community.
About Chelsea Passwater, DNP, APRN, AGCNS-BC, OCN
Chelsea has been an oncology nurse for 10 years, serving in various roles including Staff Nurse, Oncology Nurse Navigator, Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, and most recently the Manager for Oncology Navigation. Her clinical background is primarily with hematology oncology patients, but she has experience with all levels of the interdisciplinary team. Together with her teams, Chelsea has been an agent for change, promoting data-driven outcomes and quality care for oncology patients. Chelsea recently began a new role as a Clinical Associate Professor for graduate nursing students. Despite this recent change, she still serves as a consultant for national and local oncology professional organizations, promoting evidence-based practice in oncology nursing and navigation.