CDC Offers Infection Prevention Guidelines for Patients With Cancer During COVID-19
Immunocompromised patients with cancer are three times more likely to die from complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus. New resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide ideas for preventing infections like COVID-19 in patients with cancer.
Biden Appoints Nurse to COVID-19 Advisory Board
Shortly after declaring victory in the 2020 president election, the Biden-Harris transition team created a bipartisan COVID-19 advisory board. Staffed by experts, the board was hailed as a science-driven committee eager to flatten the curve. However, it had one downfall: it lacked a nurse. In response to a viral petition for nurse representation, the transition team appointed Seattle, WA, nurse Jane Hopkins, RNMH, to the advisory board on November 28, 2020.
How COVID-19 May Increase Access to and Reduce Disparities in Cancer Clinical Trials
To improve clinical trial availability, effectiveness, and diversity in the era of the COVID-19 coronavirus, National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trials should adjust their design to increase use of telemedicine and remote informed consent, among other strategies, several NCI department leaders wrote in a commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Superhero Nurses Shine in Marvel Comic Book
Wonder Woman, Superman, the Flash! Characters like those have superpowers and save people, but they are limited by fiction. Nurses are real people doing superhuman achievements every day, often with little recognition. To pay homage to the most trusted profession, Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA, partnered with Marvel to produce a comic book worthy of real heroes. The Vitals: True Nurse Stories (2020), includes three stories based on personal accounts from the children of nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
NIH Announces COVID-19 Initiative to Connect With High-Risk Patient Populations
The assault on science, medicine, and research has never been stronger, flooding social media and communities with misinformation about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s new research initiative, the Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities, provides community education in the areas hit hardest by the virus.
COVID-19 Reference Sheet: Vaccines
To control the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we need public health measures (e.g., masks, physical distancing, hand washing), treatments for infection, and vaccines to prevent infection or serious disease. In 2020, several manufacturers developed COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year. Before that, the fastest a vaccine had been developed was in four years.
FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for First COVID-19 Vaccine
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for a vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 coronavirus caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in the United States.
AMA, AHA, ANA Send Trump Administration Letter Encouraging Transition
The Biden transition team needs full cooperation and all critical information regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus, he American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA) and American Nurses Association (ANA) said in a November 2020 letter to the Trump administration.
FDA Offers Guidance to Enhance Diversity in Clinical Trials
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to smother the United States, and nationwide efforts to flatten the curve aren’t lowering cases or preventing deaths. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, an oncologist by training and profession, addressed the actions needed to combat COVID-19. One in particular is ensuring that clinical trials accurately reflect diverse populations.
Nurses Account for Largest Group of Healthcare Providers With COVID-19 Infections
Nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are at greater risk of infection than other clinicians, according to the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Nurse-related occupations, including nurses and certified nursing assistants, represent the largest proportion (36%) of healthcare providers hospitalized with COVID-19. The national survey brought to light what many nurses may have already known: nursing as a profession bears the brunt of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Drug Reference Sheet: Bamlanivimab
On November 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for bamlanivimab, an unapproved agent, to treat mild to moderate cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. EUAs are not FDA approval. Bamlanivimab’s initial supply is limited, but the manufacturer announced increased production and distribution in early 2021.
Protect Patients With Cancer During Flu Season With Recommended Vaccinations
Patients with cancer are at increased risk for complications from the common flu. Plus, ensuring they receive recommended influenza vaccinations will reduce flu-related healthcare demands and decrease stress on the United States’ healthcare system, which is crucial as the nation approaches 10 million COVID-19 coronavirus cases. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn’t waiting until National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 6–12, 2020, to promote vaccinations to high-risk populations.
Kansas ONS Chapters Advocate for Health Policy With Federal and State Leaders
Over the summer, I coordinated a now all-too-familiar exercise: a Zoom call with multiple ONS Kansas-area chapter members, nurse experts, patient advocates, and elected officials. Spearheaded by the ONS National Office, we hosted an incredibly personal and informative conversation to discuss the COVID-19 coronavirus, how it affects patients with cancer, and the legislative and regulatory environment throughout our state. Our bipartisan, multitiered event brought together oncology nurses from across the state, and, although some political views were different, we united in our commitment to nurses and public health.
Cures 2.0 Act Would Expand on the Successes of 21st Century Cures Legislation
Building on the success of the 21st Century Cures Act passed in 2016, U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) have begun work on the follow-up Cures 2.0 Act, intended to “safely and efficiently modernize the delivery of health care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” the representatives said in a press release.
Nursing Is Science First; It Just Appears Heroic
Science, our reliance on the foundations of epidemiology, and management of a public health crisis have been unprecedented discussion topics this year. We have never had a greater need to rely on data, science, and the evolving understanding of experts about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how to contend with it.
CMS Proposes Amendments to Telehealth, Preventive Care, and Staffing Concerns Amid COVID-19
During a global pandemic that requires social distancing, telehealth has suddenly become routine. Seeing an opportunity, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is breaking down barriers, enhancing patient-centered care, and bolstering the healthcare workforce with a series of regulations, with telehealth topping the list.
HHS Responds to Drop in Pediatric Vaccines Because of Stay-at-Home Orders
As families follow public health recommendations to stay at home, many have missed routine vaccinations. In response to lower vaccination rates, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act to encourage vaccinations and safeguard children at risk for life-threatening diseases.
Use the Nursing Process to Create a Self-Care Plan
Current events have given us an opportunity, and sometimes even a necessity, to rethink our well-being approaches. But developing a self-care plan doesn’t have to be overwhelming when you use a familiar method like the American Nurses Association’s nursing process.
Position Statements and Response Team Support Therapies and Research During Pandemic
Supporting oncology nurses in administering cancer treatments and nurse scientists in conducting research during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic were priority topics for the ONS Board of Directors’ August 25, 2020, meeting by conference call. After approving its board goals for 2020–2021, the ONS Board made the following decisions that you should be aware of as an ONS member and practicing oncology nurse.
Nurses Have a Critical Role in Responding to COVID-19, NAM Says
Nursing’s role in health equity, public health emergencies, and COVID-19 is a critical issue for updates to its Future of Nursing 2020–2030 report study, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) said during a webinar on August 20, 2020, that sought public input on nurses’ roles in responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
How Will You Define Your New Normal?
The phrase “a new normal” is used in the oncology setting to describe the changes a person faces as a result of cancer and its treatments. Physical and emotional scars plus activity limitations are examples of adjustments cancer survivors make as they define what will be their new normal. But in today’s media, the new normal is being used to label the changes the world’s population is facing as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Public Trusts Nurses’ Voices During Health Emergencies
The cacophony that echoes through the 24-hour news cycle can be heavy on an average day but overwhelming during a global health pandemic. That is why relying on a trusted voice is essential when attempting to understand how to deal with the voluminous information that bombards us through radio, television, emails, social media, and any other channels that deem themselves news outlets these days.
Learning in the Face of Adversity: Nurse Residency and COVID-19
Today’s new normal has changed everything at home, from what we wear to how we teach our children—and in the oncology nursing workplace, from new precautions to the rise of telehealth. It’s also affected nurse residency programs, but one institution has thrived as it adjusted.
Pandemic Advocacy; PPE Shortage List; Nurse Uncovers Data Error
Nurses are experts in advocating for their patients’ care. Taking those skills to Washington, DC, and speaking out for changes in federal health policy can have just as much impact. Even in an era of social distancing and travel restrictions, oncology nurses can bring their message to the local, state, and federal leaders to bring about change.
Did COVID-19 Transform Traditional American Politics?
Mastering the rules and regulations of democracy has been a capital city—both federal and state—game of power for more than 200 years. Those written, and too often presumed, procedures govern the process and provide a roadmap for legislators to strategize on how best to advance their agendas and campaign promises.
Provider Groups Announce Campaign Urging Public to #WearAMask
Wearing a mask is critical to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but the public hasn’t always been compliant. In an effort to provide education and understanding, the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, and American Hospital Association joined forces to promote a new public health awareness campaign.
FDA Study Reveals Higher COVID-19 Death Rate for Patients With Cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Oncology Center of Excellence confirmed that those with immunocompromised systems, including cancer, are at greater risk for serious outcomes or death after contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus.
How Can ONS Support Members in Today’s Practice Changes?
In response to public health concerns from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. government, healthcare institutions, and payors rapidly developed new policies and procedures to address the changing landscape.
Healthcare Worker Shortage; Trump Clashes With Big Pharma; Surprise Billing
Houston, TX, Miami, FL, and Baton Rouge, LA, are three of the many cities battling repercussions from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Most daunting is the perpetuated shortage of healthcare workers as the pandemic continues to ravage the United States.
We Can’t Touch Each Other, But We Can Still Touch Lives
Since the COVID-19 coronavirus stay-at-home orders were issued in March 2020, the future has been difficult to imagine. National professional meetings, including ONS Congress, graduations, weddings, funerals, and other events that mark the transition from present to future were canceled. Creative, alternative ways to mark a transition to the future are highlighted on social media and the nightly news. Virtual, Zoom, and the new normal are standard verbiage in our conversations.
What’s Working and What Isn’t in Telemedicine
Half of all healthcare professionals have started using telemedicine in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Patients and providers are trying to adjust to such rapid changes in the provision of health care. Providers want to know how to get reimbursement for telemedicine visits. Society is working together to answer the critical questions about this next wave of health care.
Insufficient PPE; COVID-19 and Cancer Mortality Rates; Nurses of Color
Nurses have been advocating for increased personal protective equipment (PPE) long before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Last year two clinicians published a book that reported on their five years of research into trauma in nurses. Their findings showed that lack of PPE, along with a multitude of other factors, led to a variety of traumas in nurses, all of which has been ignored for decades.
Care Delivery Models Guide Cancer Practice During COVID-19
Healthcare institutions have used care delivery models to guide practice for years. A care delivery model provides a structured system for work assignments, responsibilities, and authority to provide optimal patient care.
Nurses in Media; COVID-19 Scope of Practice
The media fails to represent nurses as leaders in health care. Only 2% of health articles included nurses as sources, Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, and colleagues reported in a 2017 study. In a June 26, 2020, opinion piece published in USA Today, Mason called on universities and medical institutes to offer more nurses as sources for journalists, rather than just physicians.
Racism and COVID-19; Nurses in Politics; Combat Social Determinants
A multitude of factors influenced by institutional inequality, such as underlying health conditions and employment opportunities, are to blame for the COVID-19 coronavirus’s disproportional effects on African Americans, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. His remarks were part of a June 23, 2020, testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
How to Practice Self-Care During Times of Uncertainty
Uncertainty prevails in times of crisis. Patients with cancer are all too familiar with the initial uncertainty surrounding a cancer diagnosis, treatments, and adjusting to a new normal. Oncology nurses are seeing parallels with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as people worldwide face the unknowns of a health threat and the economic aftermath of the outbreak. Medical caregivers are confronting it head on as they work together to protect and tend to the physical and psychosocial needs of others.
Cancer Consortium Report Reveals High Mortality Rates in Patients With COVID-19 and Cancer
Patients with cancer who contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus had high rates of 30-day all-cause mortality that was associated with general risk factors and risk factors unique to cancer, according to findings from one of the first data registry reports of patients with the dual diagnoses. The results were published in Lancet.
How the CARES Act and Other COVID-19 Laws Affect Nursing and Health Care
Like cancer, viruses know no political parties, no country boundaries, and no personal attributes. As the COVID-19 coronavirus spread in an infectious wave across the earth in record time, it decimated economies and devastated populations. To defend their countries against an invisible enemy, governments around the world stepped in with unprecedented command.
ONS Virtual Conference Bridges the Gap Between Education and Practice Change
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced oncology nurses to navigate abnormal circumstances, both at home and at work. Despite facing similar limitations, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) created a brand-new learning experience to give oncology nurses expert education, networking opportunities, and access to industry representatives in the wake of canceled in-person events. This September, ONS will host the inaugural ONS Bridge™, the most comprehensive conference dedicated to oncology nurses.
NCC Sends Letter to U.S. Congress Outlining COVID-19 Priorities
Fifty-seven organizations representing the Nursing Community Coalition (NCC), including ONS, sent a letter to the U.S. Congress acknowledging the federal government’s extraordinary attempts to bolster the economy and promote public health during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. In the April 28, 2020, letter, NCC provided recommendations that could be used to further combat the coronavirus, adding that the 57 national nursing organizations are available as expert resources.
NIH Partners With Johnson and Johnson to Combat COVID-19
Long hailed as the “crown jewel” of the U.S. government’s biomedical research division, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is partnering with Johnson and Johnson for a coordinated, team-based effort to find measures with meaningful impact on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Virtual Care for Patients With Cancer in New Jersey During COVID-19
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is unchartered territory with many unknowns, especially a new reality that nurses may be experiencing for the first time: virtual patient care. Even at a distance, the team at Jefferson Health New Jersey Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Sewell wanted to ensure we offered the same level of care and encouragement to patients in all phases of the cancer continuum, so here’s what we found worked for us.
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.