What were attendees wild about at the 38th Annual ONS Congress? Each other: learning from and next to more than 3,500 other oncology nurses ready to celebrate the joy of oncology nursing. By the end of the conference, more than 5,000 attendees, exhibitors, and guests were a part of the experience, creating a powerful stage in Washington, DC, for championing nurses who care for patients with cancer.  

“I sat back in utter amazement at our profession,” said planning team chair Joni Watson, RN, MSN, MBA, OCN®. “How creative, tenacious, and well-spoken we are as a group!”

The hustle and bustle began on Hill Day, when an assembly of 101 oncology nurses took to the Capitol for a full day of advocacy training from ONS Health Policy Director Alec Stone. From sunup to sundown, they toured the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health, presented ONS legislative initiatives to senators and representatives, and learned the landscape of the federal cancer care community.

Starting with federal policy leader Judy Murphy’s sharp, on-point keynote address on healthcare information technology, Congress took off with a bang. Those who’d nabbed a pedometer for the ONS booth’s Walk and Win step contest started logging the steps they took from session to session—and with so many sessions, it wasn’t hard. Nearly 430 attendees cheered each other on during the ONS Foundation’s Fun Run/Walk and Wheelchair, a perennial favorite among nurses testing their 5K grit while supporting a worthy cause. 

The Congress learning hall hosted its own set of joys, featuring a new crowd favorite: the clinical chats at the ONS booth. Audience members loved the brief, up-close talks from the experts on six hot topics, including pain management, survivorship care plans, and cancer in the young adult population. They also flocked to the hall’s hands-on theater presentations on new treatments for lung, breast, prostate, and other types of cancer. 

Nurses packed the room for the annual Bench to Bedside Lecture, which explored the correlation between obesity and cancer this year. “We have been inundated with information on new targets for drug development, and recognizing these same pathways for obesity and cancer opened new ways of thinking about prevention,” said planning team member Nancy Houlihan, RN, MA, AOCN®.

We’re extending a warm thank you to each Congress attendee who journeyed to Washington for his or her oncology nursing education. It was a joy to welcome you! We hope to see you and your colleagues at next year’s Congress in Anaheim, CA, on May 1–4.