By Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, and Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN

Oncology nurses have seen many changes in the past decade with significant improvements in cancer treatment, better symptom management and palliative care, and enhanced care coordination. But much work needs to be done as we look toward the future.

As you know, an organization’s strategic plan sets direction for the future, but it needs to be flexible to accommodate changes in the environment. The ONS Board and staff recognize the challenges and opportunities ahead and are devoting 2019 to determining what programs, resources, products, and services will offer the best support for nurses who care for people with cancer. 

A major ONS project currently under way focuses on intellectual property and development of solutions and products for improving cancer care. The outcomes will lead to strategic work for several years ahead. This and ongoing initiatives from the 2016–2018 plan fill the organizational priorities for 2019, which will serve as a bridge year to the 2020–2022 plan and the next decade. 

Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

The ONS Board approved the following priorities for 2019. A descriptor statement provides a general strategy for how we will meet each goal.

Goal 1: Prepare Nurses to Lead the Delivery of Cancer Care

Educate oncology and non-oncology nurses to lead the transformation of cancer care.

Education of oncology nurses is ONS’s core work, but the focus of this goal is on leading. With rapid changes in treatments and care delivery, oncology nurses must be at decision-making tables. Knowledge and skills in being influential are essential, and ONS will develop tactics to support members. 

This goal also has a critical difference from previous ONS strategic plans. The Board identified the importance of ONS providing resources to assist nurses in other specialties and settings where people with cancer receive care. Thus, “oncology” is not used before nurse in the goal statement. The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses and ONS have a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on initiatives that benefit members in both organizations.

Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN
Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN

Goal 2: Increase the Generation and Implementation of Evidence to Improve Quality Cancer Care

Develop new approaches to support oncology nursing research and researchers. Expedite development and translation of evidence into practice.

The nursing profession is facing a slight, but continued, decline in nurses pursuing PhDs concurrent with a rapid increase in those seeking DNPs. Research and building the science of oncology nursing is evident since the beginning of ONS’s history. In the challenging environment of retiring oncology nurse scientists, fewer nurses choosing a research career path, and funding competition, ONS and the Oncology Nursing Foundation (formerly the ONS Foundation) have a commitment to support the generation of new knowledge and implementation of evidence at the point of care. ONS is also committed to collaborating with other nursing organizations who share similar concerns about the declining PhD nursing community. 

Goal 3: Leverage Technology and Partnerships to Maximize Resources

Engage in innovative approaches to maximize the use and reach of ONS’s existing resources.

Technology constantly changes the way in which we connect, learn, and communicate. Expanding ways to access ONS resources and innovating resource development are essential for meeting ONS’s mission in today’s environment. Identifying organizations that have expertise in areas that ONS does not can accelerate progress. The project on ONS intellectual property intersects with this goal statement.

ONS is looking to the future to support you and to lead in being THE resource for nurses caring for people affected by cancer. We would love to hear from you if you have questions about ONS plans for 2019. Email us at onsboard@ons.org.