Margaret Barton-Burke PhD, RN, FAAN
Margaret Barton-Burke PhD, RN, FAAN

Webster’s online dictionary defines change as “making something different,” but Webster’s online thesaurus presents a different perspective, which fits with the changes that are currently happening within the ONS governance structure.

The thesaurus synonym for change is “to make radically different,” or to transform. The vision ONS leaders established for the society is to lead the transformation of cancer care, and the changes proposed by the ONS Board of Directors can be seen as transformative. The change coming to ONS in 2016 will transform the society into a 21st century healthcare organization—an organization that can better assist oncology nurses to care for patients with cancer.

In July, the ONS Board of Directors voted to close ONS:Edge as of December 31, 2015. As the for-profit corporation of ONS, ONS:Edge provided branded content. The work was absorbed by ONS corporate relations staff, so the change should be seamless with minimal impact to ONS membership.  Also, the ONS Board voted to change ONS Connect to a monthly publication, acknowledging the increase in information that needs to be shared with our members. Change is coming to the ONS Foundation as well, with a reduction in the size of the Board of Trustees. 

The ONS SIGs are changing to communities. Cancer Genetics SIG Coordinator Catherine Belt, RN, MSN, AOCN®, wrote an informative article where she explains, “SIGs will evolve into learning communities that emphasize greater flexibility, a broader appeal, and increased engagement with ONS’s membership." Her article links to resources explaining the rationale and thinking behind this change.

The ONS Board of Directors is proposing changes to the ONS bylaws that are on the ONS ballot for your vote this month. They include a change in the Nominating Committee to a Leadership Development Committee, as well as a change that ONS members will elect the ONS Board of Directors but the ONS Board of Directors will elect the officers of the organization (president, secretary, and treasurer). The Board has held conference calls with ONS leaders from chapters, SIGs, and the Nominating Committee to discuss the potential changes in ONS governance. 

A great deal of change is coming to ONS, but the changes in governance will only happen if you get involved and vote for change. When your election notice comes this month, open it, read the ballot, vote as you will but vote. It is our right and responsibility as ONS members. 

Remember, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” –George Bernard Shaw

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