Through the work and consensus of the Training & Certification Task Group, seven training competency domains are recommended by the NNRT for patient navigation.  

To build consensus on the domains, the Task Group reviewed well known programs for commonalities, including the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Training Center, the George Washington (GW) University Cancer Center’s Online Academy, the Patient Navigation Training Collaborative, Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators, Colorado Public Health and Environment Program’s Patient Navigation Registry Program, and the Oncology Nursing Society.  

These domains reflect overlap between programs, with some unique parameters.

I.    Ethical, Cultural, Legal and Profession Issues

Competency:   Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to respecting confidentiality, organizational rules and regulations, ethical principles and diversity in gender, age, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, abilities, sexual orientation and geography.

II.    Client and Care Team Interaction and Communication Skills

Competency:  Applies insight and understanding concerning human emotional responses to create and maintain positive interpersonal interactions leading to trust and collaboration between patient/client/family and the healthcare team. Patient safety and satisfaction is a priority.

III.    Health Knowledge

Competency:  Demonstrates breadth of health, the cancer continuum, psychosocial and spiritual knowledge, attitudes and behaviors specific to their patient navigator (clinical/licensed or non-medical licensure) role.

IV.    Patient Care Coordination

Competency:  Participates in the development of an evidence-based or promising/best practice patient-centered plan of care, which is inclusive of the client’s personal assessment and health provider/system and community resources. The patient navigator acts as liaison among all team members to advocate for patients in order to optimize health and wellness with the overall focus to improve access to services for all patients. Patient navigator conducts patient assessments (needs, goals, self- management, behaviors, strategies for improvement) integrating clients’ personal and cultural values.

V.    Practice-based Learning

Competency:  Optimizes navigator practice through continual professional development and the assimilation of scientific evidence to continuously improve patient care, based on individual patient navigator gaps in knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities.

VI.    System-based Practice

Competency:  Advocate for quality patient care by acknowledging and monitoring needed (desirable) improvements in systems of care for patients from enhancing community relationships and outreach through end-of-life. This includes enhancing community relationships, developing skills and knowledge to monitor and evaluate patient care and the effectiveness of the program.

VII.    Communication/Interpersonal Skills

Competency:  Promote effective communication and interactions with patients in shared decision making based on their needs, goals, strengths, barriers, solutions and resources. Resolution of conflict among patients, family members, community partners and members of the oncology care team is demonstrated in professional and culturally acceptable behaviors.