ELITE 2020 Master Educator Lillie D. Shockney of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and AONN+

Lillie D. Shockney

University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Co-Founder, AONN+

Growing the Field of Nurse Navigators

You know you must be doing something truly great when being named a PM360 ELITE Master Educator marks your 61st award. But great may actually be an understatement for the work that Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG does.

As a two-time diagnosed breast cancer survivor, first in her thirties then again at 40, Lillie has worked tirelessly to improve the care of breast cancer patients around the world. A seasoned oncology nurse and former Director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Breast Center, Lillie decided to put her own treatment experience to work by counseling newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Through these interactions with patients and their providers Lillie came to a stark realization: Oncology specialists had been trained to treat the cancer; not the whole person.

Lillie recognized that through nurse navigation, breast centers everywhere could improve the patient experience, treatment adherence, and overall outcomes. So, she made the growth of their navigation program a top priority. Word of her efforts spread and soon hospitals and healthcare organizations were inviting her to help them create a breast center modeled after the work she was doing at Johns Hopkins.

Acknowledging that the budding field of oncology nurse navigation lacked the educational and professional support provided by a national organization, Lillie set out to create one herself. And so, in 2009—in partnership with The Lynx Group (formerly Center for Excellence Media, LLC)—Lillie co-founded the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+). Its first conference attracted just over 100 attendees, all of whom were thirsting for information about how to grow the navigation programs at their own cancer centers. News traveled quickly and AONN+ grew at an astounding rate with Lillie serving as its Program Director and pathfinder.

Today, AONN+ is nearly 8,500-members strong and has consistently averaged a YoY growth of 20%. It has 23 local navigation networks (including two international sites), and its 2019 annual conference drew more than 1,200 attendees.

Lillie has also written 20 books and more than 350 articles on cancer care. And there is even a documentary currently being made about her life and life’s work.

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