Innovative Programs Help Institution Grow Its Own Nursing Workforce
Nursing shortages and high rates of turnover are documented problems that negatively affect patient care and institutional costs. During a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference, Christopher Brooks, MS, RN, CENP, AOCNS®, director of nursing professional development and education at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, outlined philosophies and programs his institution uses to recruit and retain its nursing workforce.
Nurse Innovators Develop Processes to Combat Common Oncologic Emergencies
Oncologic emergencies require prompt intervention to achieve the best outcomes. During a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference, oncology nurse innovators described their projects to develop standard protocols to manage two common oncologic emergencies: hypersensitivity reactions to rituximab and febrile neutropenia.
The Case of the Delicate Discussion
Over the past three years, Sharon, age 38, has been intermittently receiving treatment for ovarian cancer. She was initially treated with carboplatin and paclitaxel and remained in remission for 20 months. She responded well to second-line therapy (carboplatin, gemcitabine, and bevacizumab), remaining on bevacizumab maintenance until she experienced a relapse eight months later.
Oncology Nurses Break the Silence on Workplace Bullying and Incivility
Bullying behaviors remain prevalent in nursing, resulting in turnover, poor work performance, and emotional trauma. During a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference, Terri Townsend, MA, RN, CCRN-CMC, CMSRN, of Community Hospital Anderson, and Pamela Anderson, MSN, RN, CCRN, ANP-BC, of St. Vincent Medical Group, shed light on how to eliminate this pervasive issue.
Professional Development Increases Nurse Satisfaction, Reduces Turnover
Retaining a qualified nurse workforce is a constant and costly challenge for healthcare organizations. An on-demand session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference reviewed strategies two institutions used to address the issue.
PTSD Is More Common Among Nurses Than You May Realize
Almost 96% of nurses report experiencing at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and nearly 21% meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, according to findings from a literature review published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
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.
Bedside Nurses Bring Value to Ethical Consults
Oncology nursing is a complex world that continues to evolve rapidly. However, one challenge that remains consistent is the ethical dilemmas nurses face when caring for patients with cancer. Complex care needs and lengthy hospital stays are common in our patient population and allow opportunity for nurses to develop relationships with patients and their families. Over the course of treatment, various ethical issues may arise, which nurses are at the forefront of identifying and acting on.
If You’re Trying to Be Productive, Stop Multitasking
When it comes to the human brain, the ability to effectively multitask is a myth. Although computers can run two or more programs simultaneously, our brains must task-switch, and in the transfer of attention, time and productivity are lost. Monotasking, or single tasking, is now considered a way to increase productivity and actually maximize time.
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.
Don’t Let Barriers Prevent You From Continuing Your Nursing Education
New nurses are a lot like new drivers: they know just enough to pass the test but lack the experience to influence critical decisions. Those who understand the importance of continuing education in various formats have an advantage in today’s competitive job market.
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.
Nurses Have a Role and Responsibility in Ending Racism
“There’s no way you can extricate what’s been going on and the outcomes of the (COVID-19 coronavirus) from the basic racism and social injustice and inequities that have existed in this country for so many years,” American Academy of Nursing Living Legend Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN, said in a June 17, 2020, podcast. “The chronicity of racism is the issue.”
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.
Oncology Nurses Have a Special Power of Presence
Like most nurses, my shifts as a new nurse functioned as consistently as clockwork. I would begin my afternoon shift by reviewing the assignment list. The previous shift’s nurses would handoff the patients, and I would head out to the unit to report to my assistive personnel and review the patients’ medication administration records. Every hour was dedicated to a different task, including my dinner break. That is, until a monumental moment jostled me from my systematic routine.
ONS Virtual Conference Bridges the Gap Between Education and Practice Change
PITTSBURGH, PA—June 10, 2020—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.
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.
Be Honest: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
A full night’s sleep is a necessity, not a luxury, yet many people place sleep at the end of their priority list. Rather than seeing it as restorative, they think it takes up precious time to be productive. Many proudly proclaim, “You can sleep when you’re dead,” but ignoring healthy sleep habits can actually bring people closer to that end. Insufficient sleep is so pervasive in the United States that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it a public health epidemic.
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.
The Case of the Medication Modification
Doug is a 70-year-old man receiving treatment at the cancer center for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. He was initially treated with sunitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). He has been experiencing significant upper back pain and is having trouble with fine motor skills in his fingers. The oncologist, suspecting spinal cord compression (SCC), ordered a computed tomography scan, which confirmed metastatic lesions in the spine leading to instability and mild SCC. The oncologist refers Doug for surgery and advises him that a new medication, cabozantinib, will be ordered for after his surgery. The oncologist asks you, the oncology nurse, to instruct Doug on surgical preparations and educate him on cabozantinib.
Share Your Comments About Hazardous Drugs With NIOSH
As part of the update process for the List of Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Department of Health and Human Services, is seeking public comments on the draft documents through June 30, 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FDA Provides COVID-19 Guidelines for Patients With Cancer and Healthcare Providers
As the United States combats the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, federal agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) are reassuring specific populations, such as those in the cancer community, that the agency is still patient-centered in its mission.
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.
CDC Releases Healthcare Professional Preparedness Checklist for COVID-19
Although many federal health agencies are involved in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, central to every discussion has been the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Charged with the safety of the American public’s health, CDC is spearheading the United States’ epidemiologic approach, including how healthcare workers should recognize, test for, report, and respond to the coronavirus.
NINR Acting Director Responds to COVID-19 Pandemic
Tara Schwetz, PhD, acting director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), issued a statement acknowledging the role of nurses as more essential than ever to patient care during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Nurses Are Critical to Reducing Global Geographic Cancer Disparities
Cancer is a global health problem. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer incidence is expected to continue to grow to nearly 27 million new cases around the world by 2040. In 134 of 183 countries, cancer is the first or second leading cause of premature death for people aged 30–69 years, and it ranks third or fourth in an additional 45 countries. Although cancer is a major health issue across the world, outcomes differ depending on a patient’s country of origin.
Clear the Clutter With This Chinese Discipline
Physical and mental clutter can negatively affect your mood, productivity, and overall health. Think about how you feel when looking for a misplaced report on a disorderly desk covered with papers stacked atop magazines next to a conglomerate of used cups and scattered pens. Or observe your thoughts as they randomly shift from subject to object and back again. Being in a state of perceived chaos can stimulate feelings of anxiety and biologically increase cortisol levels.
Why You Need to Use Your Vacation Benefits
Vacations can take many forms. Some are focused on pursuing thrill in far off places, whereas others are all about rest, whether at home or in an exotic locale. But all vacation takers are seeking the same outcome: better health and well-being when they return. This can translate into personal and professional benefits such as a better attitude, increased focus, and improved outlook on life. So why does the average American leave approximately four employer-paid vacation days on the table each year?
Prioritize Your Time Amid Today’s Attention Seekers
In a world where we are bombarded with too many attention seekers (e.g., activities, people, internet), we need to prioritize which stimuli are worth our immediate attention. Nurses are inundated with busy, fast-paced, and evolving roles, and 90% report that they do not have enough time to properly care for patients. The pressure to do so much in a limited amount of time increases stress levels and burnout and decreases our capacity for self-care. Prioritizing and devoting allotted time to our attention seekers may improve stress management, work-life balance, and overall self-care.
Nurses Can Make a Difference, One Shaved Leg at a Time
In nursing school and during my first clinical rotations, I was always uncomfortable with performing bed baths. To shut out my discomfort, I would focus on the task at hand, doing my best to ensure the patient’s privacy, keeping the water warm, and only exposing the one body area I was washing at the moment.
ONS Chapters Answer the Call on Giving Tuesday
After busy Thanksgiving get-togethers and frantic Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday shopping, many people take a moment to reflect and give back to a cause that captures their passion. Dubbed Giving Tuesday, it’s a day dedicated to philanthropy and fundraising. For the first time ever, the Oncology Nursing Foundation issued a Giving Tuesday challenge to ONS chapters—a friendly competition to see which group could get the highest percentage of its membership to donate to the continued growth and excellence of oncology nursing. When all was said and done, 30 ONS chapters helped raise more than $19,000 to support the education, research, and leadership development of oncology nurses everywhere.
Shared Structure Allows Nurses to Drive the Decision-Making Process
As a unit staff nurse, have you ever thought, “I wish they would’ve asked my opinion before making that change in practice?” Many times throughout my career I’ve thought just that, but I’d never been in a position where I could share my opinions. However, getting involved in a shared decision making (SDM) structure opened up new opportunities for me.
Take These Healthy Steps to Come Back From an Unexpected Event
Oncology nurses at every professional level may encounter a variety of unexpected experiences, ranging from unkind words uttered by a patient or coworker to a medication error or the traumatic or untimely death of a beloved patient. Although the events seem like isolated, separate experiences, they can have a compounding impact on a nurse’s well-being.
Leaders Need to Walk the Talk When It Comes to Self-Care, Too
How are you taking care of yourself? It’s a question I’ve asked many team members, including leaders I have had the privilege of serving, over the course of my career. I’ve even added this question into certain candidate interviews to assess resiliency in individuals. And of course I ask it of myself often. That’s because it is my professional responsibility to ensure I am caring for myself. Provision 5 of the Code of Ethics for Nurses says, “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety.”
ONS Capitol Hill Days Preps Nurses for Advocacy
Oncology nurses advocate for their patients every day, and it’s easy to see firsthand the difference it can have in those patients’ and families’ lives. But there’s a way to make an even larger impact by using those same advocacy skills at the local, state, or even national level—potentially changing thousands or even millions of lives of patients, survivors, and families across the United States.
Magnet Status Benefits Physicians, Too
Achieving Magnet recognition is the gold standard of a nursing program, demonstrating that an organization’s nursing leaders have established nursing excellence to improve outcomes for patients. And now the results of a new study published in Harvard Business Review show that excellent nurses are positively linked to physicians’ performance as well.
The Work We Do Now Affects Health Care’s Future
The World Health Organization designated 2020 internationally as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. To celebrate the work that nurses do globally, nursing organizations around the world are creating programs that offer recognition—as well as education, training, and professional development.