How Nurses Can ‘Curb the Spread’ and Support Themselves
As the United States reopens and social distancing moves into different phases, concerns remain about containing the COVID-19 coronavirus. Anxiety and stress are high as nurses and other healthcare professionals who are caring for COVID-19 positive patients are worried about their own health and the health of their families. A paramount fear is inadvertently spreading the virus to ourselves or our loved ones.
The Emotional Burden of COVID-19 Almost Made Me Leave Nursing
Life can steer you down a road that changes your impressions and view of the world. Without conscious awareness, it distorts comprehension and challenges you to change or be a byproduct of the times. Fighting to go back in time can destroy your life, livelihood, and career.
Innovative Clinics Help Patients Safely Access Cancer Care During COVID-19
No longer just a convenience, drive-throughs are an essential part of social distancing during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Retailers and healthcare providers alike have taken it beyond the typical food, prescriptions, and banking, offering everything from merchandise to virus testing—and now, thanks to the innovation of two oncology nurses, cancer care.
Federal Agencies Collaborate; Nurse Proposes Healthcare Bill; NCI Shifts Research to COVID-19
It’s all hands on deck to combat a pandemic from an unknown virus, and researchers everywhere—even from seemingly unrelated disciplines like oncology—are jumping in to study tests, vaccines, and treatments. Effective May 5, 2020, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is partnering with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies to research antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 Talking Points for Patients With Cancer, Caregivers, and Family Members
To keep our communities safe and the most vulnerable people healthy, everyone needs to stay at home as much as possible. But patients with cancer and survivors must take extra steps to help maintain their health and safety. These patient education talking points can help people with cancer, as well as their family members and caregivers, stay well while staying at home.
ONS Congress, Chapter Leadership, and Business Meetings Go Virtual
To address travel restrictions from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic while delivering important learning and resources ONS members rely on, during its March conference call the ONS Board of Directors made several decisions to host its meetings and content virtually throughout 2020.
Cytokine Release Syndrome in Patients With COVID-19
Cytokine release syndrome is an overwhelming and potentially life-threatening inflammatory response often seen in oncology care, most commonly with monoclonal antibodies and CAR T-cell therapies. It may also be triggered by an infection or develop following infusion of agents targeting the immune system.
How COVID-19 Is Affecting Oncology Practice in South Korea
Oncology nurses around the world are seeing the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in their practices. At my facility in South Korea, nurses’ daily routines have changed and institution-wide shifts have affected patients with cancer, too.
Nursing Innovation, Leadership, and Dedication Shine During Pandemic
It now seems providential that the World Health Organization named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife to honor Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. Who could have predicted how the world would rely on nurses to change the course of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic by upholding Nightingale’s leadership and principles of infection control from the 19th century?
A Perspective on COVID-19 for New and Student Nurses
COVID-19 coronavirus’s ripple effects extend so far beyond health and health care. Life in the United States doesn’t look the same as it did a few months ago. We’re all affected in some way, but senior nursing students have a distinct set of circumstances related to the pandemic.
NIH Announces Research Strategy for COVID-19
From international guidelines to economic stimulus and legislative support, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is now global leaders’ top priority. Leading the research efforts is the National Institutes for Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). As NIAID’s director for more than 30 years, Anthony Fauci, MD is one of the few, regular faces associated with COVID-19 in the United States. On April 23, 2020, the agency announced that it will spearhead a strategic plan to research a vaccine for COVID-19.
The Evidence for Herbal Supplements for Immunity and Stress During COVID-19
As the world embarks on unprecedented research efforts to prevent and treat the COVID-19 coronavirus, patients with cancer and healthcare providers alike may be interested in using herbal products to boost their immune system or relieve anxiety and stress. However, finding accurate information is challenging: no herbs have been scientifically proven to prevent or treat COVID-19, and some may even cause harm.
House Tells FDA to Ban E-Cigarettes During COVID-19
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clear the market of e-cigarettes because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. It was responding to FDA’s request to give e-cigarette manufacturers four additional months to submit applications to stay on the market before enforcing a ban.
Legislators Urge President to Respond to PPE Shortage
Healthcare providers still lack sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat patients with COVID-19 coronavirus. Citing insufficient federal coordination, members of Congress urged the Trump administration follow through on implementing the $16 million PPE funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
PPE Protests; COVID-19 Health Disparities; Nursing Home Fears
On April 21, 2020, a handful of nurses protested outside the White House to urge the president to respond to the critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE)—and other nurses around the country have been speaking out as well.
Patients Struggle to Access BMT During COVID-19
Cancer does not stop progressing because of a pandemic. Although the COVID-19 coronavirus does not recognize that someone with leukemia has been fighting for months, even years, for remission to receive a lifesaving blood and marrow transplantation (BMT), a new program is ensuring that marrow products are available when patients need them.
COVID-19 Reminds Us That Nurses Are Health Diplomats for Humanity
In early March, I developed fatigue, mild shortness of breath, and a dry cough, so, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, I called the triage line at my primary care clinic. The nurse with whom I spoke offered me an appointment that same day.
'Lost on the Front Lines'; Physicians Campaign Congress; Policymakers on COVID-19
Healthcare workers in the United States accounted for 20% of all deaths caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to date. The Guardian and Kaiser Health News partnered to document every healthcare worker who’s died from COVID-19 in response to the absence of a reliable nationwide database.
Roadmap Helps Institutions Safely Resume Elective Surgeries During COVID-19
As the United States rolls out a plan to reopen the country’s nonessential businesses and services safely, hospitals and healthcare facilities are also developing strategies to resume elective surgeries. To help facilities guide their readiness assessment, prioritization, and scheduling, on April 17, 2020, the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, and American Hospital Association released a joint statement roadmap for elective surgeries following the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Position Statement Calls for Advocacy for COVID-19 in Oncology Nurses and Patients With Cancer
Oncology nurses must advocate for prevention and control of the COVID-19 coronavirus to minimize the risk to themselves and the patients with cancer in their care, the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC) announced in its April 2, 2020, COVID-19 Position Statement. ONS is a full member of ISNCC.
Fear on the Front Lines of COVID-19 in the United States
As oncology nurses in Chicago, IL, on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the United States, fear, anxiety, anger, and frustration are just some of the emotions that have been festering in me and my coworkers since the beginning of 2020. It seems like an endless era, and I’m scared: for my patients, coworkers, and family.
Oncology Drug Reference Sheet: Tocilizumab
Tocilizumab was approved in August 2017 for the treatment of chimeric antigen receptor T cell–induced cytokine release syndrome. In March 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab plus standard of care in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.
Palliative Care Resources Comfort Nurses Through COVID-19 Stress, Dilemmas, and Grief
The concept of providing comfort is at the core of my identity as a nurse, and I have always been drawn to the palliative care component of what we do as oncology nurses. Because it wasn’t part of my roles, I was less confident in my knowledge and understanding of chemotherapy administration, but I often thought, “Palliative care, yeah, I’ve got this!”
And then I learned how little I knew.
Stay Positive During COVID-19 by Remembering Our Purpose
One of the first people we learn about in nursing school is Florence Nightingale. During the Crimean War, she noticed soldiers were dying because of disease, not from the effects of war. Because of Nightingale’s observations and interventions, handwashing and infection control became standard practices in nursing. From her findings, Nightingale developed her environmental theory, in which she said nursing is a calling, art, and science that requires a specific education base. We’re recognizing this throughout 2020 as we celebrate the Year of the Nurse, and it’s especially important to remember during today’s pandemic.
Title VIII Nursing Workforce Funding Included in CARES Act
The business shutdowns and mandatory social distancing from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic brought the country’s economy to the brink. Last week, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 was included as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s comprehensive, landmark legislation. The $2 trillion aid package was geared to promote public health and boost economic confidence.
U.S. Surgeon General on COVID-19: 'It's Going to Get Bad'
Deployed to provide expert medical advice about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, made media rounds the first week of April 2020. Although the news he shared wasn’t positive, it was a necessary message that the United States needed to hear.
Cope With COVID-19 Through Mind-Body Therapies for Oncology Nurses
The COVID-19 coronavirus is causing dramatic increases in anxiety and stress around the world, disrupting daily life. Healthcare professionals, including oncology nurses, are confronting enormous challenges as they struggle to deliver optimal patient care.
NCI Cancer Research Persists Despite COVID-19 Limitations
Most of the global biomedical research community, especially those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is consumed with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Because the U.S. federal government is under strict orders to limit its operations to only essential personnel, many of the 27 NIH institutes and centers are redirecting their efforts toward COVID-19 topics. However, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is continuing its cancer research in certain priority areas.
Public Policies Protect Healthcare Worker Safety During COVID-19
One of the highest health policy priorities for the nursing community during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is to ensure the safety of healthcare workers, particularly regarding the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE).
WHO Director-General Encourages Global Collaboration to ‘Flatten the Curve’
As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to circle the globe, nations look to a strong source that can help coordinate information and provide insight for all people. Under the leadership of the director-general, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been that trustworthy entity. Tracking, reporting, and coordinating COVID-19’s many aspects, WHO is a hub that allows public health officials worldwide to receive information in real time.
CMS Grants Waivers to Providers During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
In emergencies such as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, government health agencies have the authority to grant waivers for various federal health programs. Starting on March 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waived certain requirements and protocols for providers and beneficiaries.
Democrats Draft Fourth COVID-Response Bill; Trump Extends Social Distancing; Some Legislation Perpetuates Nursing Shortage
On March 30, 2020, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives began drafting a fourth COVID-19 coronavirus relief package to include substantial infrastructure investments, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi said the legislation could be ready for a vote by late April.
Once a Nurse, Always a Nurse
“Desperate times breed desperate measures." —William Shakespeare
Today is an unprecedented time in history: the COVID-19 coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. The United States faces a challenge unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, especially on our soil. We will lose many lives. Living in New Rochelle, NY, has made me acutely aware of this, perhaps before many other parts of the country.
Healthcare Leaders Release Open Letter on Coronavirus; Nurses Share Realities of COVID; Hospitals Use Telemedicine Amid Pandemic
A day after President Donald Trump was considering lifting some of the quarantine mandates, healthcare leaders from the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association (ANA) released an open letter urging Americans to stay home.
Healthcare Industry Looks to Public Amid COVID-19 PPE Supply Shortage
Nurses and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, face shields, and N95 face masks. But grassroots efforts from citizens and companies are bringing PPE donations or funneling supplies from donors to medical facilities in response to pleas from the healthcare community.
Patient Communication Strategies for COVID-19 Conversations
We are oncology nurses. We don’t shy away from hard discussions. We have the skills and tools to help others. But this pandemic is different. The COVID-19 coronavirus has changed the rules. It’s ushered in social distancing, limited contact, and induced a new level of panic. COVID-19 doesn’t care if you are a nurse or a patient. It is an equalizer between us all.
FDA Issues Guidance for Conducting Clinical Trials During COVID-19
On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a guidance for industry, investigators, and institutional review boards conducting clinical trials during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in recognition that it may affect the conduct of clinical trials of medical products, including drugs, devices, and biologic products.
FDA Issues New Guidance for Certain REMS Drugs During COVID-19
To address the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, on March 22, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new guidance to sponsors and healthcare providers regarding certain Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)-required testing during this time.
HHS Changes Regulatory Action During COVID-19 Pandemic
The alarmingly quick spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has put a strain on the U.S. healthcare system, including the availability of personal protective equipment and other safety resources. The speed at which the virus spreads requires an even swifter response from federal agencies, government officials, and public health experts to combat the disease. To cut the red tape and accelerate data collection, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has used statutory authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act to survey Health Resources and Services Administration healthcare institutions to understand the current COVID-19 response, challenges institutions are facing, and ways to help.
FDA Facilitates Access to Crucial Medical Products, Including PPE and Ventilators, for COVID-19
On March 22, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took action to increase the availability of ventilators, accessories, and other respiratory devices during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.
ONS Meets With Trump; COVID-19 and Patients With Cancer; Senators Weigh COVID-19 Action
Alongside 11 other national nursing organizations, ONS Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, participated in a meeting with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other leaders from the administration at the White House on March 18, 2020, to discuss the nursing community’s needs and response to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. Administrators from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Coronavirus Task Force also attended.
ONS Advocates for Patients and Oncology Nursing at White House Briefing on COVID-19
Oncology nurses were represented at a March 18, 2020, White House briefing with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other members of the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force. Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) chief executive officer, was invited to attend the meeting along with other nursing association leaders to discuss the health and safety of oncology nurses and the patients they care for during the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
Psychosocial Support for Patients With Cancer During COVID-19
When the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, in a matter of days clinicians were scrambling to find novel ways to screen, triage, and provide telehealth interventions to protect patients with chronic conditions who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. As nurses, we are accustomed to helping patients in crisis acclimate to a changing environment, process large amounts of information, and have their psychosocial needs met.
Proper PPE Procedures for COVID-19
Although many oncology nurses are well versed in donning and doffing (removal) of personal protective equipment (PPE) for administering hazardous drugs, but not infection control. Additionally, nursing colleagues in other specialties may not wear PPE as part of their daily practice. As the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic changes that, oncology nurses should understand PPE use for infection control to promote safety for nurses and patients.
Emotional Coping Strategies for COVID-19
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic is turning the world, inside and outside of the hospital, upside down. Not only are oncology nurses seeing high demands at work, but changes and restrictions are being instated at home as well.
Prescription Drug Proposal; COVID-19 Safety Legislation; Drug Costs Outpace Inflation
Drug pricing is a top legislative issue for Congress, and amid rising COVID-19 concerns, health policy topics are more pressing than ever. On March 5, Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced the Lowering Prescription Drug Prices for America’s Seniors and Families Act of 2020, which would allow Medicare to negotiate prices after a drug’s patent expires as well as cap out-of-pocket prescription spending for seniors at $3,100 per year.
Telehealth Visits During COVID-19
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for practicing social distancing to slow the national risk of transmission of COVID-19 novel coronavirus, oncology nurses must take increased precautions with patients with cancer who are at increased risk for contracting or experiencing poorer outcomes from COVID-19. Patients require communication and education in these uncertain times.
COVID-19 Telephone Triage for Patients With Cancer
During the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, patients might be fearful and uncertain if they should come to their clinic appointments. COVID-19 presents greater risks to older adults and people with comorbid diseases such as cancer and other chronic conditions, and patient concerns will likely increase the volume of phone calls into your clinics and telephone triage lines. Oncology nurses can use the opportunity to assess and educate patients.
Supreme Court ACA Case; Cancer Moonshot; COVID-19 Outbreak
As part of its focus to dismantle the 2010 healthcare law, the GOP repealed the Affordable Care Act individual mandate in 2017. Republican state attorneys general then challenged the law’s constitutionality in a series of lower court cases, and the most recent has been lingering in federal courts for more than a year. On March 2, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the issue, marking the third time the law will be heard at the highest court in the country.