Oncology nurse scientists are driving new advancements in patient-centered cancer care through their research. But getting your research off the ground can be difficult. Seeking the advice and expertise of experienced nurse scientists can be a key component in successfully moving your research to the next level. 

The ONS Foundation has developed the Oncology Nurse Scientist Intensive, a program that brings together expert nurse scientists to mentor, advise, and guide the grant submission process for the next generation of nurse scientists. The Intensive takes place one day immediately prior to ONS’s annual Congress.

ONS member and 2016 participant, Bethany Rhoten, PhD, RN, said she found her time at the Intensive invaluable. “The more expert reviews you can get for grant submissions, the better. In the past, I’ve had a variety of people review my grant opportunities, and I thought the intensive would be a great way to get peer reviewed by national experts.” 

According to Rhoten, applying to the Intensive was simple and straightforward. “It was a relatively easy application process,” Rhoten said. “It’s as simple as submitting a letter of intent with your idea of what you’d like to do. You don’t need to have the entire grant written up front. That’s something you have time to work on. I found out I was accepted in a very timely manner.” 

Upon arriving at the Intensive for the day-long session the day before Congress, Rhoten was excited and nervous. “I was pleased and also a little nervous. I was meeting with top minds in oncology,” Rhoten remembered. “That’s what I wanted, but it’s also a little intimidating.” 

Rhoten’s fears faded away once the Intensive was underway. “It was really beneficial to watch the experts conduct the mock peer review,” Rhoten recalled. “It was just like they were at the National Institute of Health (NIH). They discussed our grants like we weren’t even in the room, and we got to learn the things you do and don’t want to hear said about your grant.” 

Among the wealth of knowledge and advice that Intensive participants receive, Rhoten noted the added benefit of connecting with her fellow research colleagues. “I think the experience bonded all of the attendees, and that was a really nice, unexpected aspect.” 

After the intensive, Rhoten worked diligently on her research proposal. “I was able to fill in some gaps that weren’t as apparent in the beginning, and I really feel like I was able to strengthen the quality of my submission,” Rhoten noted. Her proposal is now with the NIH, and she’s patiently waiting to hear back. 

“To anyone who’s on the fence about applying, it’s absolutely worth it. Just submit the letter of intent and see. What’s the worst that can happen? The best is that you get invaluable feedback on your grant, it gets funded, and it really catapults your career to the next level,” Rhoten said. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” 

To be considered for the 2017 Oncology Nurse Scientist Intensive, you must submit a letter of intent by no later than 11:59 pm eastern time on November 7, 2016. Beyond including an overview of your topic, your letter of intent must acknowledge that you’ll submit your research grant proposal by March 20, 2017. You must also be available to participate in the Intensive in Denver, CO, during ONS’s 42nd Annual Congress. Contact research@onsfoundation.org with any questions about the 2017 intensive. 

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