The RDS included 68 task statements, which were evaluated on average importance ratings and the rate at which respondents reported the task to be specific to ONNs. Six task statements were removed, resulting in the assessment of 62 tasks. Analyses revealed 4 critical concepts. These concepts are access, barriers, care coordination, and communication. Several tasks indicate the ONN serves as the essential point of contact for patients and caregivers across the continuum of cancer care.

The results also indicated that ONNs, alone or in collaboration, are well positioned to identify and address obstacles to optimal care. Coordination of care and communication across care were additional tasks important to the role of the ONN.

The role of the ONN is, indeed, evolving and expanding. For example, some of the important tasks of the 2016 RDS, such as addressing psychosocial aspects across cancer care, were not prominent in the 2011 RDS.

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Differences in the role of the oncology nurse navigator and the role of clinical or staff nurses emerged when some tasks were associated more strongly with nurse navigation, according to results from the RDS.

“In the survey, we asked respondents what their main professional development needs were.  We received an overwhelming response and found that the majority of needs focused on survivorship issues, new and emerging treatments, financial and insurance issues, and collecting and monitoring metrics and outcome data,” said Lubejko.

“Educational information and resources related to many of these topics are not readily available and need further development.”

These results could help outline areas for future expansion in navigation programs.


1. Lubejko BG, Bellfield S, Kahn E, et al. Oncology Nurse Navigation: Results of the 2016 Role Delineation Study. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2016;21(1):A1-A8. Accessed January 19, 2017.