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Members Say: The Voice of Member Organizations

Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+)

Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CGLillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG

Co-Founder, AONN+
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (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 is a compass for navigation by providing an inclusive network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services to better manage the complexities of the cancer care treatment continuum for their patients. In 2015, the Academy was the 53rd professional organization to become a member of the Commission on Cancer. Lillie Shockney, co-founder of AONN+, serves as our CoC Fellow and plays a central role in furthering the discussion around oncology navigation and survivorship.

From its inception in 2009, AONN+ has been working to erect the broad infrastructure that will help ensure the long-term viability of the navigation profession, while enhancing patient care and continuing to improve outcomes. Membership has grown to more than 8,900 members strong, and we have consistently partnered with industry allies to create products and programs aimed at improving the patient experience and developing the role of the navigator. The voice of AONN+ navigators is heard throughout the continuum on the internal committees via policy and advocacy, clinical trials, innovation and technology, and professional development as well as others. The midyear and annual conferences are planned around member idea submissions on what their needs are in the current care environment and market. The voices are carried outside the organization as members step up to represent AONN+ in national/international engagements with other professional and advocacy organizations.

The Metrics Committee celebrated a milestone in 2020 with the release of the Navigation Metrics Toolkit, a collaboration between AONN+ and the American Cancer Society. This national standardized tool was a boost to navigation by demonstrating elements crucial to coordinating high-quality, team-based care and demonstrating the success and sustainability of navigation programs. The strategically designed toolkit identifies 35 evidence-based metrics that can be seamlessly applied to all navigation programs and provides navigators guidance on how to select, implement, report, and utilize metrics to help improve patient care and foster navigation program development and growth.

Certification was another infrastructure foundation and step in acknowledging navigation as a profession. In 2020, the AONN+ Foundation for Learning, Inc. (FFL) achieved national accreditation to offer the only national certification to Oncology Nurse Navigator-Certified Generalist (ONN-CG℠) and the Oncology Patient Navigator-Certified Generalist (OPN-CG℠). AONN+ FFL created these professional certifications in response to the increasing demands of its membership to design a specific type of certification to distinguish the knowledge, skills, and role of navigators. The ONN-CG achieved national recognition from the CoC confirming it demonstrates compliance under Standard 4.2 Oncology Nursing Credentials. This recognition acknowledges the important and relevant role navigators play within the multidisciplinary oncology team as oncology nurse navigators demonstrate competency in their role and contributing to the best in cancer care as well as enhancing the value of the oncology care provided to patients by navigation. To date, more than 600 have earned their certification. Learn more at

AONN+ ensures that clinical nurse and patient navigators have the knowledge to competently demonstrate effective navigation services across the cancer care continuum within their scope of practice. The network of navigators and resources provided give members the confidence and ability to analyze and generate better processes for practice and utilize tools to support patient care. Visit to explore what an AONN+ membership can offer to you.