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

In September, ONS conducted a member survey with 14,728 randomly selected members.

Thanks to the 1,842 (12.7%) who responded, the ONS Board of Directors and staff have learned much about the pressing challenges you face in your practice. Most frequently cited were appropriate staffing levels or mix (64%), staff training and education (50%), sufficient patient care resources (38%), and compassion fatigue (36%). You also added many other challenges to the list. This information will guide ONS in developing resources and services for you. It facilitates our identifying gaps in what we offer and what may be needed.

Many of your comments show that the complexity of the ONS enterprise can be difficult to understand. ONS is actually three corporations, connected in different ways. Each has a mission and strategic plan that guide it, but they have unity of focus on advancing oncology nursing and quality patient care.

Many of you wanted free Congress registration or a completely free Congress with airfare and hotel being paid. Every year, the ONS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ONS, offers Congress scholarships. It takes some effort on your part to apply, but $1,200 will cover most of your expenses to attend Congress. The deadline for 2017 has just ended, but the call is every year. We are fortunate to have ONS Foundation trustees who commit their time and effort, as well as all who donate, to support the various scholarships and grants that benefit you, the members.

Many of you are concerned about issues related to certification: individual learning needs assessment (ILNA) complexity and tracking of CNE hours, the cost of certification and recertification, syncing ONS CNE contact hours directly into the planner, and making the tests easier. The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) manages the certification exams and recertification processes. It is independent but affiliated with ONS through a management agreement. The ONCC Board of Directors is accountable for the strategic, quality, and fiduciary aspects of the corporation. ONCC cannot provide educational programs but relies on other providers, such as ONS, to develop and provide courses that can fulfill ILNA requirements. The ONCC Board and staff have the feedback you provided on this survey, and on an ongoing basis they consider how to improve your experience with certification.

A new question on the survey this year was, “What could ONS do to delight you?” I wasn’t certain about that question: what did it mean, and how would members view it? We decided to ask it and see what you would tell us. We have 84 pages of comments telling us how you could be delighted, and I have read all of them, as have others on staff. Many found the question itself a delight. Several would like Congress in your city. Suggestions for online courses and practice tools were listed. A frequent request was more free resources. We are analyzing the responses by themes and correlating them with respondent demographics to assist the Board and staff to establish priorities on actions to meet your needs. We will share more about how your feedback is being used in the coming months. You can always send more ideas to the Board by email at onsboard@ons.org.

I want to conclude with good news for 2017. ONS has budgeted carefully for 2017 to provide the resources you need and be mindful of the organization’s financial stability, and we are pleased to inform you that membership fees will be kept at the 2016 level. Happy holidays!

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