Navigating Through Disaster: Application of Oncology Nurse Navigator Competencies to Climate Disaster Preparation and Response

Ryne Wilson, Darcy Burbage, Erin Dickman, Pam Ginex

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Objectives: The role of the oncology nurse navigator (ONN) before, during, and after a climate disaster is critical to ensuring that individuals with cancer continue to receive the necessary care and support. The objective of this article is to provide an overview of the essential role of the ONN by highlighting the application of core competencies to climate disasters. Methods: Competencies available for ONNs from the Oncology Nursing Society include coordination of care, communication, education, professional role, and expertise. International Council of Nurses (ICN) core competencies for disaster nursing include eight domains: preparation and planning, communication, incident management systems, safety and security, assessment, intervention, recovery, and law and ethics. These competencies are explored for application to climate disaster preparation, mitigation, and response. Results: The ONN competencies and the domains of the ICN disaster nursing competencies were integrated to outline the role of the ONN in disaster preparedness and response. Conclusion: The ONN is pivotal in maintaining the continuity of cancer care. The ONN's expertise is critical for navigating the difficulties presented by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other extreme climate events as well as existing barriers to cancer care. The ONN's adeptness at coordinating care, communicating effectively, and tapping into community resources will transfer to a climate disaster, ensuring minimal treatment interruptions and access to necessary care. Implications for Nursing Practice: The ONN is integral to the cancer care team in preparing and responding to climate disasters. The ONN ensures ongoing access to cancer care and advocates for the specialized care that people with cancer need. The ONS ONN Core Competencies and the ICN Disaster Competencies are applicable for developing processes and procedures to address climate disasters in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151581
JournalSeminars in oncology nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cancer
  • Climate disaster
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Nurse navigation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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