Nurse Navigator

special interest group newsletter

Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2015  
Coordinator's Message:
SIG Leadership Goals

Jean B. Sellers, RN, MSN
Chapel Hill, NC

Our Nurse Navigator SIG has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 2010. Most recently, we’ve created a leadership team of 18 nurse navigators from across the country. They expressed their desire to serve in a volunteer role, supporting the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) in its efforts to improve quality of care for patients with cancer. As a result of several conference calls and four workgroups, we developed what we feel are critical aspects in supporting the role of the nurse navigator. Here is an overview of the robust goals for each workgroup.

  • Quality/Outcome Measures: To investigate the feasibility of standardized nursing navigator program metrics and thereafter explore opportunities to establish national benchmarks for patient experience, clinical outcomes, and business performance.
  • Navigation Resource Tool Kit: To investigate and create a tool kit that will be of value to oncology nurse navigators (ONNs) without duplicating what other organizations have done.
  • Lay Patient Navigation: To establish guidelines for role delineation between ONNs and nonprofessional lay patient navigators.
  • Cancer Care Coordination (CCC): To explore differences and similarities between ONN and CCC in order to define needs, goals, and accomplishments.

I spoke to each colleague on our leadership team and learned that some members have worked in oncology for many years. They don’t want the next generation to face what they faced trying to coordinate care and resources. Their hours are long. Their patients’ stories are the inspiration for the work they do. And they know we need each other as we work together to help find solutions.

There are many definitions of courage in the world. Webster’s says it’s the ability to do something that you know is difficult (Merriam Webster, n.d.). I also think courage means that you stand up for yourself and others and take risks. Oncology nurses are the bravest and most dedicated people I’ve ever known. It’s an honor to be surrounded by this team as we all work together to improve the way cancer care is delivered. Our patients deserve no less.

courage. (n.d.) In Retrieved from


The Nurse Navigator SIG Newsletter is produced by members of the
Nurse Navigator SIG and ONS staff and is not a peer-reviewed publication.

Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Editor's Corner:
How to Fill Big Shoes

Deborah Christensen, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
St. George, UT

Don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that Dominique Srdanovic has big feet, but stepping into her role as newsletter editor has me wondering if I will be able to measure up. For the past five years, Dominique has done a wonderful job editing newsletter articles and meeting submission deadlines. I am grateful that she will remain a member of our leadership team. Please join me in thanking Dominique for her years of service and watching for the March 2015 issue of ONS Connect where she will be featured in an article on frontline nurses.

Expect to be a part of some new and exciting developments as the leadership team grows under Jean B. Sellers’ capable hands. Each issue of the Nursing Navigator SIG Newsletter will feature a best practice article, updates on each workgroup’s progress, and a whole section dedicated to recognizing your nurse navigator colleagues.

Your leadership team values your input. Sending in ideas and suggestions to the newsletter is a great place to start. Submit a best practice article, recognize a colleague, or send in patient and navigator resources—the list of ways to contribute is endless. My inbox is waiting.

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Member Spotlight:
Meet the Editor

Deborah Christensen, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
St. George, UT

Learn more about your new newsletter editor in the following interview.

What sparked your interest in joining the Nurse Navigator (NN) SIG?
My only direct oncology nursing experience has been as a nurse navigator, so when I first joined ONS I signed up for the NN SIG right away. Well, signing up and being involved are two different things. I guess you could say I have been a member at large. I hope to become more directly involved now as I transition into the role of NN SIG Newsletter editor. Many thanks to Dominique Srdanovic for her five years of editorship and dedication in putting together a great newsletter.

Have any patients stood out to you regarding navigation needs?
As nurse navigators, we have the most amazing opportunity to directly serve patients  by finding ways to best meet each person’s individual needs. One man, J.T., comes to mind when I reflect on just how unique those needs can be. J.T. was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. He was a healthy looking, robust, 47-year-old father of three working for a temporary agency, and uninsured. His wife worked full time to help make ends meet. As I mentally assessed each of his many barriers to care, I paused to ask J.T. what concerned him the most. His reply was, “I have to find work to support my family.” It took several weeks of perseverance to finally help J.T. enter treatment. He insisted on finishing his current temporary job and resisted having teeth extracted because he couldn’t afford dentures, saying, “Who will hire me if I don’t have teeth?” He also held strong cultural beliefs that had to be delicately and compassionately handled. Through navigating this patient and family through active cancer treatment and continuing to support them in survivorship, I learned that the remarkable work we do as navigators does not in any way, shape, or form fit into a standard package. Personalized care is at the forefront of every encounter.

What is your area of care (e.g., disease-specific navigation, general navigation)?
Our cancer center currently employs two nurse navigators and one patient navigator. We see between 30-50 new cases a month. Both nurse navigators see patients with solid tumor and hematological malignancies—we are not disease specific, just patient specific. This can be overwhelming at times, but we have systematic processes that help us make the most effective use of every minute. The patient navigator handles a lot of the non-clinical aspects of caring for our oncology community.

How long have you been practicing? At which facility do you practice?
I have been a registered nurse for just short of 20 years. I received my BSN in 2009 and am now halfway through the clinical nurse specialist program at Loyola University Chicago in Illinois. This advanced practice registered nurse program is completely online. Upon graduation, I will be prepared to be licensed as an Adult/Gero Clinical Nurse Specialist certified with a specialty in oncology (AOCNS). I have been employed by Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, UT, for my entire nursing career and work in St. George, UT at Southwest Cancer Center and Genomics.

If you could serve as a nurse anywhere for any length of time, where would your dream job take you?
I am living and breathing my dream job. I do love to travel, hike, bike, and explore other places, but St. George is where I hang my hat and scrubs.

Do you have any tidbits of wisdom you would like to share with the membership (e.g., mantras you live by, methods of practice)?
I don’t know how wise it is, but I have always been one to passionately follow my dreams. It seems I am always dreaming up something new so I am permanently busy. Basically, don’t look for barriers but learn to jump high when necessary.

What is one thing you would like to see accomplished in our SIG in the next year?
I would like to see the NN SIG membership get to know each other better. One way we can accomplish this is by sharing best practices, heartwarming or even challenging stories, and pearls of wisdom. Of course, a perfect place to share is through the newsletter. Your practices, stories, and thoughts are just waiting to be published.

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Report of an ONN Presentation to an
International Audience

Margaret Barton-Burke, PhD, RN, FAAN
President, Oncology Nursing Society 2014-2016

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) often has the opportunity to share experiences and resources with colleagues around the world. Through my affiliation with ONS, I was chosen to be a panelist at an abstract session, “Models of Care Delivery,” in September 2014 at the International Society for Nurses in Cancer Care’s (ISNCC’s) 18th International Conference on Cancer Nursing (ICCN) in Panama City, Panama. My abstract was titled “Oncology Nurse Navigation: Providing Direction to Improve Care Delivery.” The ONS presentation was preceded by a presentation about United States nurses training and mentoring nurses from Rwanda. It was followed by two presentations from the United Kingdom on community cancer clinical nurse specialists and establishing cancer nursing services using a holistic needs assessment tool.

My ONS presentation framed nurse navigation from a historical perspective, building on the work of Harold Freeman, MD, and the first patient navigation program at Harlem Hospital in New York, NY, in 1990. Interestingly, I was an active American Cancer Society (ACS) volunteer when Freeman, then the ACS President, began speaking about navigation as a possible solution to cancer health disparities that were being seen in places like Harlem and the Bronx in New York. His lay navigator role eventually expanded to encompass cancer care.

But the navigator role changed. Oncology nurses became professional nurse navigators grounded in cancer-specific knowledge, clinical expertise, and understanding of the cancer-care system. ONS recognizes the distinct role that oncology nurse navigators play in cancer care and has set priorities and allocated resources to support the growth and standardization of the role. This includes developing Core Competencies in 2012 and publishing Oncology Nurse Navigation: Delivering Patient-Centered Care Across the Continuum in 2014.

My presentation was well received by fellow panelists and the audience. I encouraged audience members to share their experiences and perspectives. Nurses from around the world, including Australia and New Zealand, shared nurse navigation examples. A nurse from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America offered examples as well.

In an effort to begin a dialogue across countries, I was a little provocative in my presentation. I asked questions like: How is the ONN role different from or similar to the role of a care coordinator? Is the ONN role a sustainable role or is it a trend in nursing? Are patient outcomes different when an ONN is available within a system? Has there been a comparison of outcomes between healthcare systems that use or do not use ONNs? Have we measured outcomes such as patient satisfaction; patient health; patient treatment and remaining on protocol; improved interdisciplinary communication; patient retention within the healthcare system; and downstream generation of revenues?

I will close by saying that I am in support of ONNs, as well as the lay navigator role, for patients in the cancer-care system. Professionally, I work in St. Louis, MI, where most of the population is of a minority background and health care for the majority of citizens is poor.

My questions were thought provoking. They led to discussion and sharing between the audience and the panel members about the role of the ONN in cancer care practices and the importance of establishing this role. The presentation was well attended, was well accepted, and addressed a topic that should be presented at future conferences including our ONS Congress.

Special thanks to all the oncology nurse navigators who helped me with this presentation including: Cyndi Cantril, RN, OCN®, MPH, and Sharon Francz, BHA, co-founders of the National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators; Jean B. Sellers, RN, MSN, ONS Nurse Navigation SIG coordinator; Lori McMullen, RN, MSN, OCN®, senior oncology nurse navigator at Edward and Marie Matthews Center for Cancer Care in Plainsboro, NJ; Claudia Miller, RN, OCN®, thoracic oncology nurse navigator at the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston; Donna Fernandez, MSN, RN, OCN®, radiation and GYN oncology nurse navigator at MultiCare Regional Cancer Center in Tacoma, WA; Sara Morril, RN, BSN, oncology nurse navigator at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, ME; Linda Aeschliman, RN, nurse navigator at Sierra Nevada Women's Imaging Center in Grass Valley, CA; Wanda Strange, RN, OCN®, at Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center in Dallas, TX; Barbara R. McHale, RN, BS, OCN®, CBCN, nurse navigator at Samaritan Hospital Cancer Treatment Center in Troy, NY; Margaret (Peggy) Kane, RN, OCN®, at Kaiser Permanente, Largo Medical Center in Upper Marlboro, MD; and all the nurse navigators who have shared their stories with me for this presentation.

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Best Practices:
Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening

Gean Brown, MSN, RN, OCN®
Middletown, CT

Megin Iaccarino, BSN, RN
Middletown, CT

Gean and Megin both work at Middlesex Hospital and Cancer Center Total Lung Care Center in Middletown, CT.

In recent years, evidence for low-dose CT lung cancer screening has grown, receiving a B rating from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). This means that private insurers will cover the test under the Affordable Care Act. Planning a standardized approach in implementing a lung screening program involves a multidisciplinary team, which includes a lung nurse navigator. The team also should include a pulmonologist, a thoracic surgeon, a medical oncologist, and a radiologist, who should identify the guidelines that the program will follow. Several organizations published guidelines outlining who should be screened as well as how results should be interpreted and followed. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has guidelines that include risk status, screening findings, and follow-up of screening findings (National Comprehensive Cancer Network, 2014). The American College of Radiology (ACR) is in the process of adopting a reporting system called Lung-RADS to make the lung nodule interpretation more consistent (McKee et al., 2013). The Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) established best practices for lung screening sites that include providing clear information based on current evidence of eligible candidates for screening and the inclusion of a smoking cessation program. As nurse navigators, we can be at the forefront of ensuring comprehensive and quality lung screening programs.

Radiology is responsible for ensuring that the CT is low-dose, and the physicist will work with the scanner individually to calculate an acceptable low-dose. Radiology is also responsible for ensuring that experienced radiologists trained specifically in lung nodules read the scans. The nurse navigator and the radiology department must work out a system whereby all screening scans are identified and sent to the nurse navigator.

Our center uses a picture archiving communication system (PACS) radiology computer to create a folder for screening CTs that go to the navigator. Our lung screening program requires a referral by a primary care physician (PCP) to ensure that the patient receives the proper follow-up should a nodule be found and future screening scans be ordered. Patients who do not have a PCP are assisted with obtaining one by the nurse navigator while those with no insurance are referred to a community health center for assistance. The radiology department administers a questionnaire to ensure that the patient qualifies as a high-risk patient. Brochures also are distributed describing the procedure and eligibility for lung screening. The nurse navigator is available for questions, and her number is listed on this brochure. People who do not fit the criteria are directed to the navigator to discuss their eligibility and become more educated about lung cancer risk.

All patients who obtain screenings are contacted by the nurse navigator with their results and are educated on follow-up procedures. Positive results require a call to the PCP first. The lung care team reviews the scan and recommendations are given to the PCP for follow-up. Should a patient require further work-up, the nurse navigator coordinates the work-up in conjunction with the PCP and the lung team. Patients who are diagnosed with cancer are followed by the nurse navigator through treatment and beyond. Patients with a lung nodule of low suspicion requiring follow-up are given a plan by the nurse navigator and placed in the navigation system for reminders on recommended future scans or tests. PCPs are given reminders when the follow-up is due, and the nurse navigator obtains those scans as well.

The Middlesex Hospital Total Lung Care Center follows NCCN guidelines for lung nodule follow-up. The guidelines, which can be found on the NCCN website, are very comprehensive and easy to follow. Please note that NCCN changes the guidelines periodically, so refer to the website for the latest version.

The recommendation for a negative lung scan is currently that the patient should have two additional annual scans. This has been challenging. When a PCP or a patient hears the scan was negative, they assume there is no need for another scan despite reading the literature they received from the lung team outlining reasons for additional lung screening. PCPs need to be reminded that many patients with initial negative scans yielded positive results in subsequent scanning. Having the pulmonologist urge the PCP to order the annual scans is a good way to improve compliance. Outreach programs targeting PCPs in the community help to educate and dispel some of the common misconceptions associated with lung cancer screening. The nurse navigator also initiates education aimed at high-risk populations.

No lung screening program should exist without a smoking cessation program. The nurse navigator in the Middlesex program refers current smokers to our smoking cessation counselor and also offers the quit line number for those who may not want to use the counselor. The nurse navigator is posed in the perfect place to capture the high-risk population that may be current smokers. A low dose CT lung cancer screening program is a win-win for all.

McKee, B.J., McKee, A.B., Flacke, S., Lamb, C.R., Hesketh, P.J., & Wald, C. (2013). Initial experience with a free, high-volume, low-dose CT lung cancer screening program. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 10(8), 586-592. doi:org/10.1016/j.jacr.2013.02.015

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (2014). NCCN Guidelines. Retrieved from

Additional Resources
Early Lung Cancer Action Program. (2014). Lung cancer screening facts. Retrieved from

Henschke, C.M. (1999). Early lung cancer action project: Overall design and findings from baseline screening. The Lancet, 354(9173), 99-105. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)06093-6

Jiemin, M.W. (2013). Annual number of lung cancer deaths potentially avertable by screening in the United States. Cancer, 199(7), 1381-1385. doi:10.1002/cncr.27813

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

ONS Nurse Navigation Leadership Spotlights

Juli Aistars, RN, MS, APN, AOCN®, TTS

Juli is the prostate and lung nurse navigator, facilitator of the Lung Cancer Screening Program, and a tobacco treatment specialist at Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights, IL. She has practiced in oncology nursing for 34 years. Her publications include articles in nursing journals and a book chapter on radiation therapy. She has presented at national conferences on cancer-related topics and was recently elected clinical nurse specialist representative on the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing Board of Directors 2014-2015.

Debbie Bickes, RN, MN, OCN®

Debbie is the CMS program coordinator at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in Atlanta, GA, where she manages a team of lay navigators as part of a demonstration study with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. She has been a nurse for over 30 years. Debbie earned her BSN from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a master’s with a subspecialty in oncology adult health from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She has held various staff and leadership roles in inpatient and outpatient settings throughout her nursing career and worked as a breast nurse navigator at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA, prior to her current position. She has been a member of ONS and of the ONS Metro Atlanta chapter for several years and recently attended the ONS Leadership Conference in Pittsburgh.

Karyl Blaseg, RN, MSN, OCN®

Karyl is the manager of cancer programs at Billings Clinic in Montana, which grew from a single nurse navigator in 2004 to a team of 10 navigators today. Karyl promotes collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, and quality standards to support optimal care and outcomes for oncology patients.

Karyl has presented at a variety of national conferences on the topic of patient navigation including the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators, the National Consortium of Breast Centers, the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center’s Magnet Program, the National Cancer Institute’s Community Cancer Centers Program, and Cerner Health.

Cindi Cantril, RN, OCN®, MPH

Cindi has over 40 years of oncology nursing experience working in research, clinical care, program development, and leadership. She is active in nursing leadership at national, international, and local levels. She is the director of oncology service lines and patient navigation at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as lead nurse navigator, helping guide patients through their care.

In addition, Cindi facilitates support groups and conducts a variety of recovery programs such as the Equine Therapy Program and women’s cancer survivor retreats.

In 2012, Cindi developed a successful resource navigation program for underserved Latin American men and women granted by the To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation and The Community Foundation of Sonoma.
She received the Oncology Nursing Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010 for her novel work in patient navigation. In 2014, she received CURE Magazine’s Extraordinary Healer Award. She has published more than 12 articles and authored several book chapters.

Ellen Carr, RN, MSN, AOCN®

Ellen has been a nurse case manager with the Moores UCSD Cancer Center in San Diego, CA, for more than 12 years, practicing primarily head and neck oncology (surgery). She has been a member of the NN SIG Leadership Team for the past four years. Ellen is an associate editor of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and is responsible for the column “Oncology Essentials.” For the past five years, Ellen has been e-newsletter editor for the local San Diego ONS chapter.

Deborah Christensen, RN, BSN, HNB-BC

Deb Christensen is an oncology nurse navigator at Southwest Cancer Center in St. George, UT. She is enrolled in the oncology clinical nurse specialist program at Loyola University Chicago in Illinois and is board certified with the American Holistic Nurse Association. She published an article and several poster abstracts in the Journal of Navigation and Survivorship. Deb also serves as an ONS Connect contributing editor, Livestrong Foundation leader, and American Cancer Society volunteer.

Pamela J. (PJ) Haylock, PhD, RN, FAAN

PJ is an acknowledged leader of efforts to bring attention to the complex health needs of cancer survivors. Her peer-reviewed papers emphasize advancing the science and knowledge of cancer survivorship, the nature and significance of nursing research, and nurse advocacy. She also contributes to efforts to advance the oncology nurse navigation role, co-chairing the ONS and Association of Oncology Social Work effort to create a joint position on patient navigation. Her trade publications (Women’s Cancers, Men’s Cancers, and Cancer Doesn’t Have to Hurt) encourage lay readers to gather knowledge that empowers them to make fully informed decisions, be engaged members of cancer care teams, and become effective advocates for themselves and others.

PJ received her BSN and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Iowa College of Nursing in Iowa City and her PhD from the University of Texas Medical Branch Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Galveston. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2011. PJ is an adjunct professor in the online RN to BSN program at Schreiner University in Kerriville, TX, teaching “Professional Nursing Concepts.”

Joy B. Hepkins, RN, BSN, OCN®

Joy is a graduate of the Sarleh Dollie Nursing College, Tygergerg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, and received her BSN from Gwynedd Mercy University in Gwynedd Valley, PA. She has been working as a nurse navigator and coordinator since 2008 at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Darby, PA. She has been a member of ONS since 2007, serving in various leadership positions at the chapter level. She is fluent in several languages and promotes cancer prevention at community events.

Judy Koutlas, RN, MS, OCN®

Judy earned her BSN in nursing from the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio in 1983. She later received her master’s of science degree in 1988 from Rush University in Chicago, IL, focuing on the oncology nurse specialist program. She is responsible for the Vidant Health Cancer Care Navigation Program throughout eastern North Carolina. She possesses five years of experience as a GI nurse navigator and has over 20 years of oncology nursing experience. She is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators and the National Council of Nurse Administrators. Judy developes and facilitates a local cancer support group and actively participates in numerous survivorship and community cancer awareness events. She is an active board member of the Cancer Support Community of eastern North Carolina.

Diane McElwain, RN, OCN®, Med

Diane was a founding staff member of the York Cancer Center in Pennsylvania where she began navigating breast cancer patients. The program evolved to several multidisciplinary navigation team members and Diane now navigates head, neck, and lung patients. She leads outreach activities for the Cancer Center as well as patient support activities. In the past, Diane was coordinator of the Prevention and Early Detection SIG and program chairperson for the Pennsylvania Capital Region ONS chapter. She has presented at ONS Congress several times.

Susan Scherer RN, BSN, OCN®

Susan is the founder and CEO of RN Cancer Guides and her medical career spans over 24 years. Susan received her BSN of nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. RN Cancer Guides utilizes oncology-certified nurses to guide cancer patients in navigating the emotional, medical, and financial barriers of their care outside of the hospital system. The company also started and trademarked the first employee cancer assistance program in the country.

Susan has been a national speaker on several radio programs and conferences discussing cancer patient advocacy and nurse entrepreneurship. She serves on various boards and is a member of state and corporate cancer control committees. This year, she participated in Florida’s HPV Vaccination and Awareness Collaborative. Her work has been recognized and awarded nationally and regionally. She is the legislative liaison for the Greater Tampa Bay ONS Board.

Jean B. Sellers, RN, MSN

Jean is the administrative clinical director of UNC Lineberger Cancer Network. She consults oncology practices throughout North Carolina, assisting with their cancer support programs including helping develop the patient navigation processes. She is a nationally recognized public speaker on advocacy, oncology nursing issues, patient navigation, and palliative care. She is one of the founders and current president of the North Carolina Oncology Navigator Association, a non-profit association supporting the role of patient navigators. She serves as adjunct faculty for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing and was appointed to be a member of the President’s Council for the National Patient Advocate Foundation representing North Carolina. Most recently, she was elected to serve as coordinator for the ONS Nurse Navigator SIG.

Kathy A. Seymour, BSN, RN, OCN®

Kathy has been an oncology nurse for 18 years serving the acute oncology population at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier, CA. Two years ago, Kathy became OCN® certified and started the Colorectal Cancer Navigation program. Kathy says that studying for certification created an “awakening for me and I have become active in my local ONS chapter in the membership committee.” She expresses gratitude for being able to attend the 2014 ONS Congress in Anaheim last summer where she networked with other navigators and Denise Wiley. When she is not working with patients, Kathy enjoys working in her garden.

Dominique Srdanovic RN, MA, OCN®

Dominique is a GU nurse navigator supervisor at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. She has extensive experience in oncology nursing in clinical nursing and leadership positions. She is certified in oncology nursing and has been an active member of the ONS Nurse Navigation SIG Leadership Team. She was newsletter editor from 2010-2014.

Tricia Strusowski, MS. RN

Tricia has over 30 years of experience in oncology working in a variety of roles. Most recently, she works as a clinical director overseeing a multitude of departments including chemotherapy infusion, rehabilitation programs, multidisciplinary disease site centers, thoracic surgery, palliative care, oncology medical home programs, wellness programs, and bone marrow coordinators and accreditation programs.

Tricia has served on multiple advisory boards and implemented 15 multidisciplinary cancer centers. She also consults on the strategic development and implementation of nurse navigation programs within private practices, hospitals, and health systems across the country. Tricia is an accomplished speaker and writer. She has presented at national nursing conferences (Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators, Association of Community Cancer Centers) as well as published articles on navigation and multidisciplinary centers in peer-reviewed journals.

Kristen L. Williamson, MSN, RN, ANP, AOCN®

Kristen received a BA in English from the University of Los Angeles in California in 1990 before receiving her MSN as a clinical nurse specialist in chronic/acute care at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, in 1994. She has worked in oncology for 20 years in various roles. She obtained certification as an adult nurse practitioner in 2000 from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (MUSC). After graduating from MUSC, she worked as a nurse practitioner at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates PA in South Carolina before accepting a position as a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked as a nurse practitioner in the Breast Cancer Program from 2002-2007. In 2008, she accepted a position as a nurse practitioner in hematology/oncology at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina, and in 2014, she became the first cancer care coordinator at Durham.

Denise Wiley, RN, BSN, OCN®

Denise began her nursing career working in medical telemetry and inpatient oncology. She later transferred to radiation oncology. It was there that she discovered her passion for oncology nursing. She moved to northern Nevada in 2001 and initially took a role in medical, surgical, and gastroenterology office nursing but returned to radiation oncology a year later. In 2009, she began working as a nurse navigator at Renown Health Hospitals in Reno, NV. Initially, Denise was helping patients of every cancer except breast cancer. As Renown’s nurse navigator program has grown, she has been able to focus more on gastrointestinal and head and neck cancers. Denise is currently serving on the boards of the Nevada Colon Cancer Partnership, the Reno Cancer Foundation, and the Gastrointestinal and Liver Center of Excellence Committee at Renown. She also serves as the president of the ONS Sierra Nevada chapter, of which she has been a member since 2003.

Paige Woodruff, RN, BS, CBCN®

Paige has 30 years of nursing experience in a variety of clinical settings including pediatric and adult oncology. Presently, she works as the breast nurse navigator for Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. Having completed a BS in healthcare administration in 2013, she is pursuing a master’s in nursing education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She holds certification from the ONS as a breast health nurse. She has a personal interest in global health issues and has traveled abroad caring for the sick.

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Membership Information

SIG Membership Benefits

  • Network with colleagues in an identified subspecialty area around the country.
  • Contribute articles for your SIG’s newsletter.
  • Participate in discussions with other SIG members.
  • Contribute to the future path of the SIG.
  • Share your expertise.
  • Support and/or mentor a colleague.
  • Receive information about the latest advancements in treatments, clinical trials, etc.
  • Participate in ONS leadership by running for SIG coordinator-elect or join SIG work groups.
  • Acquire information with a click of a mouse at including:

Educational opportunities for your subspecialty
Education material on practice
Calls to action
News impacting or affecting your specific SIG
Meeting minutes

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Exclusive Articles Available Before Print

The Oncology Nursing Forum (ONF) and the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) have unveiled advanced print exclusive articles to give our readers access to important, cutting-edge content ahead of print. Articles from the journals are available on the main ONF and CJON pages. These articles are open access, meaning they are available to members and non-members alike, until they appear in print at a later date. At that time, the content will become password-protected like other articles that appear in print as online exclusives in the journals.

The latest article to receive the advanced print exclusive designation is “Treatment With Oral Anticancer Agents: Symptom Severity and Attribution, and Interference With Comorbidity Management” by Sandra L. Spoelstra, PhD, RN; Charles W. Given, PhD; Alla Sikorskii, PhD; Atreyee Majumder, PhDc, BS; Monica Schueller, BA; and Barbara A. Given, PhD, RN, FAAN. The purpose of this ONF article is to evaluate the prevalence, severity, and attribution of symptoms, as well as the interference with management of comorbidities, in patients who have been prescribed oral anticancer agents. Check out this timely and informative article today.

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Check Out the ONS Connect Blog

The official blog of ONS is written by oncology nurses for oncology nurses on a variety of topics of interest, including facing day-to-day challenges at work, juggling busy lives at home, and keeping up to date with the magnitude of information available for practicing nurses.

This month, you’ll find the following new discussions.

As a reader, join in on the conversation and connect with other oncology nurse readers by posting your own stories, tips, ideas, and suggestions in the comments section at the end of each blog post.

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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Five-Minute In-Service

The latest Five-Minute In-Service explains how Comorbidities Can Affect Severity of Side Effects From Oral Cancer Therapies and Interfere With Patientsí Abilities to Self-Manage.
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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Ask a Team Member

The latest Ask a Team Member column answers the question How Do You Teach Students About Oncology in Clinicals?
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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Membership Information

SIG Membership Benefits

  • Network with colleagues in an identified subspecialty area around the country.
  • Contribute articles for your SIG’s newsletter.
  • Participate in discussions with other SIG members.
  • Contribute to the future path of the SIG.
  • Share your expertise.
  • Support and/or mentor a colleague.
  • Receive information about the latest advancements in treatments, clinical trials, etc.
  • Participate in ONS leadership by running for SIG coordinator-elect or join SIG work groups.
  • Acquire information with a click of a mouse at including
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Join a Virtual Community

A great way to stay connected to your SIG is to join its Virtual Community. It’s easy to do so. All you will need to do is

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  • Locate and click on the name of your SIG from the list of all ONS SIGs displayed.
  • Once on your SIG’s main page, click “Join Group,” and log in using your ONS Profile. Don’t have an ONS Profile? Create one today, and then return to your SIG to join.

Subscribe to Your SIG’s Virtual Community Discussion Forum
Once you have your log-in credentials, you are ready to subscribe to your SIG’s Virtual Community discussion forum. To do so,

  • Select "Log In," located next to "New User," and enter your information.
  • Next, click on the "Discussion" tab on the top right of the title bar.
  • Locate and select "Subscribe to Discussion"
  • Enter e-mail address.
  • Click "Finish."
  • You are now ready to begin participating in your SIG’s discussion forum.

Participate in Your SIG’s Virtual Community Discussion Forum

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  • Click on any posted topic to view contents and post responses.

Sign Up to Receive Your SIG’s Virtual Community Announcements
As an added feature, members also are able to register to receive their SIG’s announcements by e-mail.

  • From your SIG’s Virtual Community page, locate the "Sign Up Here to Receive Your SIG’s Announcements" section.
  • Select the "Click Here" feature, which will take you to a link to subscribe.
  • Once the "For Announcement Subscription Only" page appears select how you wish to receive your announcements.
    • As individual e-mails each time a new announcement is posted
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  • Enter your e-mail address.
  • Click on "Next Page."
  • Click "Finish"
  • You are now subscribed to receive announcements.
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Nurse Navigator

Special Interest Group Newsletter  January 2015  

Nurse Navigator SIG Officers

Nurse Navigator SIG Coordinator (2014-2017)
Jean Sellers, RN, MSN
Chapel Hill, NC

Deborah Christensen, RN, BSN, HNB-BC
St. George, UT

Virtual Community Co-Web Administrator
Ellen Carr, RN, MSN, AOCN®

Virtual Community Co-Web Administrator
Denise Wiley, RN, BSN, OCN®

Virtual Community Co-Web Administrator
Paige Woodruff, RN, CBCN®


Quality Outcome Measures (co-leaders)
Tricia Strusowski, MS, RN
Karyl Blaseg, RN, MSN, OCN®

Navigation Resource Toolkit
Julie Aistars, RN, MSN, APN, AOCN®, TTS

Lay Patient Navigation
Debbie Bickes, RN, MN, OCN®

Cancer Care Coordination
Kristen Williamson, MSN, RN, ANP, AOCN®

Copy Editor
Samantha Hungerford
Pittsburgh, PA

Know someone who would like to receive a print copy of this newsletter?
To print a copy of this newsletter from your home or office computer, click here or on the printer icon located on the SIG Newsletter front page. Print copies of each online SIG newsletter also are available through the ONS National Office. To have a copy mailed to you or another SIG member, contact Membership/Leadership Specialist Carol DeMarco at or 866-257-4ONS, ext. 6230.

View past newsletters.

ONS Membership & Component Relations Department Contact Information

Brian K. Theil, CAE, Director of Membership and Component Relations Department

Diane Scheuring, MBA, CAE, CMP, Manager of Member Services

Carol DeMarco, Membership Specialist—SIGs

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) does not assume responsibility for the opinions expressed and information provided by authors or by Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Acceptance of advertising or corporate support does not indicate or imply endorsement of the company or its products by ONS or the SIG. Web sites listed in the SIG newsletters are provided for information only. Hosts are responsible for their own content and availability.

Oncology Nursing Society
125 Enterprise Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1214

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