Cancer Prevention: Oncology Nurses Save Lives by Raising Awareness
Despite flashy television campaigns, countless pamphlets and brochures, and seemingly constant reminders, people are still unaware of important cancer prevention information. The World Health Organization estimated that 30%–50% of all cancer cases are preventable. But between modifiable behaviors, hereditary and genetic risks, infectious agents, and more, the general public finds itself mostly unprepared to tackle the cancer prevention conversation.
ONS Past President Sandra Schafer Leaves a Legacy of Compassionate Leadership
From her patients to her colleagues to the entire cancer care community, ONS Past President Sandra Lee Schafer, RN, MN, AOCN®, made everyone she touched feel special, inspiring and motivating a generation of oncology nurses in advancing care for patients with cancer. Schafer passed away on December 7, 2018, but her legacy of compassion and care lives on.
ONS Members Share Education, Resources in Peru
“If you know other countries and their people, there will be no wars or hatred.” That was the motto I understood when I was younger and I remember participating in international oncology and nursing conferences, exchanging knowledge, resources, and education with other countries. Cancer connects us all, and that maxim has stuck with me and marked my interest in travelling and meeting new people.
Oncology Nursing Foundation Refocuses Commitment to All Oncology Nurses
Support for oncology nursing is critical to the advancement of the profession and the future of care for patients with cancer. The Oncology Nursing Foundation—formerly known as the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Foundation—is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable organization dedicated solely to supporting oncology nurses both nationally and internationally. Today, the Foundation announced its name change to wholly encapsulate the organization’s longstanding focus and goals. Through continuing education scholarships, research grants, and career development funding, the Oncology Nursing Foundation supports oncology nurses in their pursuits to provide safer and more effective cancer care for their patients.
This Week, Recognize and Thank Your Oncology Nurse Practitioner Colleagues
Nurse practitioners (NPs) play an undeniably valuable role in producing quality outcomes in cancer patients. For National NP Week from November 11–17, 2018, pause with ONS to recognize, thank, and support the oncology NPs who relentlessly pursue excellence, striving for the best for their patients from diagnosis through survivorship.
ONS Is Proud to Be Part of a City Stronger Than Hate
On an unseasonably warm Saturday in October, Pittsburgh, PA, was struck by one of the United States’ greatest tragedies in recent history. The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill—a quiet, unassuming neighborhood in the heart of the city—sent shockwaves through the community, the country, and the world. On October 24, 2018, one man’s attack violently stole 11 lives from the Jewish community.
How I Celebrated NCC and Advocated for the Nursing Workforce
On September 12, 2018, I had the honor of attending the Nursing Community Coalition’s (NCC’s) 10th Anniversary Celebration as an ONS representative, joining members of ONS’s health policy staff. NCC is a 61-member coalition, working to further nursing education, training, and support through united advocacy efforts.
Meneses Left Legacy of Contributions to Cancer Survivorship and Quality of Life
Long-time ONS member and oncology nurse scientist Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) passed away unexpectedly on August 1, 2018.
Oncology Nursing’s Future—Preparing the Next ONS Strategic Plan
Each spring brings a flurry of annual meetings held by oncology organizations: Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and ONS’s. This year I attended all and was part of panel presentations at ACCC and AACR to bring the nursing perspective to the topics.
What Happens if Patients With Cancer Have Bedbugs?
Lurking in the dark corners of bedrooms across the country, unseen figures wait to feast of the blood of humans and animals alike. When the lights go dark, they come out for dinner. No, they’re not vampires or mystical beasts—they’re bedbugs. These parasitic insects feed exclusively on the blood of humans and animals and are a prevalent parasite in the United States.
Future of Nursing Issues Top ONS Board’s Discussion in May
As the ONS Board of Directors held its first meeting with some of its newest members after the 43rd Annual ONS Congress in May, transitions were top of mind. The Board successfully transitioned its leadership as new president, Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, and three new directors-at-large (Heather Thompson Mackey, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN®, Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN®, CENP, and Susan Bruce, MSN, RN, OCN®, AOCNS®) came on board.
Writing for Wellness
No reliable method exists for determining how many conscious or unconscious thoughts a person has in a day; estimates range from 12,000–70,000 daily thoughts for an average of 52 thoughts per minute. Journaling your thoughts and feelings is a way of becoming an interested observer of your thoughts.
Oncology Nurse Develops Monitoring Document for Monoclonal Antibodies
It’s a rote but important phrase: Necessity is the mother of invention. When a need presents itself, developing novel, inventive solutions can lead to important change. But inventive change doesn’t have to come on a massive scale: small inventions can still have a big impact.
Verbal Abuse Is Still Violence, Joint Commission Says
Healthcare workers, especially nurses, are less likely to report incidents of workplace violence, including verbal abuse from patients, families, and coworkers, according to a sentinel event alert the Joint Commission released in April.
What’s the Rate of Depression and Anxiety in Oncology Nurses?
The oncology nursing profession is a difficult career, fraught with long hours and stressful situations. With those factors, anxiety and depression could become more prevalent. In study findings published in conjunction with the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, researchers reported the rates of depression and anxiety among nurses working in oncology units and how certain situations related to these rates.
The Importance of Passion, Experience, and Resilience in Oncology Nursing
What makes a great oncology nurse? Is it opportunity and experience? Is it passion? I’ve worked with managers who’ve held wildly different opinions on these hiring characteristics, but I would argue they’re all critically important.
Nursing Student Embraces New Opportunities in Oncology to Grow Professionally
As a student graduating from a traditional four-year bachelor of science in nursing program, career opportunities in nursing are seemingly endless. It’s exciting to enter a field that involves helping and caring for people and provides an opportunity to work with patients of all different cultures, ethnicities, ages, and personalities. I initially chose a nursing career because I’ve always been interested in the science of the body. I love making connections and communicating with people, and I have a passion for helping people get through their worst times. As a student, the only goal I had as an aspiring nurse was to work in pediatrics.
Find, Be, and Thank an Oncology Nursing Mentor This May
The month of May is a perfect time to think about new beginnings. Among its seasonal events such as Mother’s Day, weddings, baby showers, and graduations, we also celebrate Oncology Nursing Month and ONS Congress in Washington, DC, this year.
How Does Mentorship Help New Oncology Nurse Authors Get Published?
Writing and publishing for the first time can be a daunting experience, but the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) Writing Mentorship Program is a great opportunity for oncology nurses looking to publish their own work. The program pairs published nurses who share their experiences and expertise with ONS members who are new to the publishing process.
Oncology Nurses Enhance Cancer Care Through Mentorship Opportunities
Whether it’s with your smiling patient who always brings sweets to her appointments, the colleague Who started when you did, an inquisitive family member, or your supervisor, relationships are an ever-evolving component of successful oncology nursing careers. Fostering professional relationships among colleagues can often lead to mentoring opportunities that are mutually beneficial for mentors and mentees.
The Future Is Full of Opportunities for Advancing Oncology Nursing and Cancer Care
As I reflect on my time as ONS president, I realize that I am concluding my term as I began: grateful for the oncology nurses who have inspired and supported me. We are all guided by the common goal to provide the best possible care to individuals with cancer.
ONS Shares Chemotherapy Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
For sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, cancer incidence is on the rise. The increase in cancer rates can be attributed to several factors, including economic and social development and infectious disease rates. In that part of the world, many healthcare professionals don’t have access to up-to-date information regarding safe chemotherapy handling and administration. The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) developed the ChemoSafe program to share critical information and resource acquisition focused on safe chemotherapy administration and cancer treatments with healthcare providers in SSA. ONS provided specific nursing content to support the ChemoSafe initiative, including educational materials and courses.
How One ONS Chapter Is Providing Education on New Drug Approvals
With more than 50 new U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for cancer therapy in 2017 alone, oncology nurses are challenged about how to keep up with all of the latest practice updates. However, the Philadelphia Area Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society (PACONS) leadership has taken an active role in helping to ensure their chapter members are given the evidence-based cancer treatment information they need to improve their practice.
How ONS Is Advocating for Our Patients and Our Profession
A responsibility of the ONS president, Board members, and senior staff is to advocate for our patients and our profession. To say that 2017 was a busy year is an understatement. This column, whether written by the president or by me, often describes where ONS has been, who has represented the organization and you, and what our advocacy or education has been.
Leadership in Nursing Takes Many Forms
Do you promote optimal patient outcomes, advocate for patients’ voices, and implement change? Then you’re a nurse leader. It is easy to think of nurse leaders as those in administrative positions or conducting bedside research, but the reality is that nursing leadership can take on many roles through a variety of different nursing positions, from generalist to certified to advanced practice. Leadership is about influencing change and improvement, inspiring those around you.
McCorkle Is the First Nurse to Receive Yale Cancer Center Lifetime Achievement Award
ONS member Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, FAAN, was awarded the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her national and international contributions to oncology, specifically in the areas of palliative care, psychosocial care, and quality of life research. McCorkle is the first nurse to receive this honor from the Yale Cancer Center.
Remembering Margo McCaffery’s Contributions to Pain Management
Former ONS member Margo McCaffery, RN, MS, FAAN, was a leader and pioneer in pain management for nursing. Through her work, she helped to identify and treat patients with acute and chronic pain in a number of healthcare settings. McCaffery’s 1968 definition of pain was simple—“It’s whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever and wherever the person says it does.” Her words have become a touchstone for clinicians addressing and treating patients in pain.
ONS Board Looks Ahead to Exciting Plans in 2018
At the October Board meeting, we looked back at 2017 as a year that included great meeting times for ONS members at Congress in Denver, CO; regional chapter officer meetings; Leadership Weekend in Pittsburgh, PA; and Capitol Hill Days in Washington, DC. The ONS Board also looked ahead to 2018 and the third year of the strategic plan.
Find Moments of Inspiration in Your Work
I just finished writing a sympathy card to the family of “Beth.” For the past five years, Beth was in a support group that I facilitate for individuals with advanced cancer. Beth is an example of why I am an oncology nurse. She was an amazing woman. A deliberate thinker, she collected information and made decisions about her health that fit her goals. She once asked me, “How can you continue to care for folks with cancer year after year? It must be hard.”
Follow the Path to Oncology Nursing
Every oncology nurse has a story about how he or she was drawn into cancer care. For some it’s through professional mentors or a personal experience with cancer. ONS member Kimberley Munn, RN, BSN, OCN®, was raised in a family of healthcare professionals.
Foster Great Leaders by Leading by Example
In 2017, the ONS Board is implementing the new process where the Board of Directors appoints the next president who will be responsible for the ongoing shaping and molding of our society. During our virtual meeting on August 29, this was one of the most important topics that we discussed. The Board is committed to ensuring that our next leader has the vested interest of our organization and possesses the core competencies and values necessary to continue to move our organization forward.
ONS Members Recognized for Achievements in Oncology Nursing
Through contributions in the field, oncology nurses are driving the quality of cancer care forward, improving patient outcomes and enhancing quality of life and access to care. Whether they’re changing practice through innovation, research, excellence, or leadership, ONS members are making a big difference in practices across the country—and several have recently been recognized for their achievements in oncology nursing.
National and Local Leaders All Play a Role in the ONS Enterprise
The annual ONS Leadership Weekend brings together the boards of ONS, ONS Foundation (ONSF), and the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC); the ONS Leadership Development Committee; the ONCC committee chairs; and leadership representatives from all of our chapters. Many national office staff join in the planning and activities too. The weekend is a valued, traditional investment in volunteer leaders at the local and national levels. In one session during this year’s meeting in July 2017, the questions that were asked indicated to me that understanding ONS and the roles and responsibilities of the various groups in the ONS enterprise could be helpful.
Cancer Prevention Through Community-Based Programs
Preventing a cancer diagnosis is the most surefire way to survive it. However, the public and news media communicate more about emerging treatments and newly approved oncology drugs and less about ways people can take steps to prevent cancer before it starts. Oncology nurses have a role and obligation to spread public health education and an attention to disease prevention, so many Americans change risky habits that would otherwise lead to future cancer diagnoses.
Supporting Cancer Prevention Through Resources and Education
Estimates suggest that 30% of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes and vaccinations. We know that tobacco accounts for 90% of all lung cancers and contributes to increased risk for head and neck cancers. It’s also well known that sun exposure is associated with increased incidence of basal and squamous cell skin cancers, as well as the most dangerous skin cancer, melanoma.
After 100 Years, Nursing School Is Both Different Yet Still the Same
Earlier this month, I found this picture of my grandmother from 1918. She must have sent it to her sister, because on the back of the photo was scrawled a message: “I thought you might want a snap to see me in my nursing uniform.” This is like a selfie from nearly a hundred years ago. Although the sign behind her says, “Don’t park here,” that’s exactly what she’s doing. The humor was not lost.
Overcome Barriers to Your Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice
As an oncology clinical nurse specialist (CNS), you may find yourself answering over and over the question of, “What is it you do?” In many instances, it is a broader role then most may realize, and you wear several hats. As you explain to other oncology staff what a CNS does, focus on the three spheres of influence.
Creating an Effective CV and Resume to Land the Job
Heather Costa, PHR, SHRM-CP, a nurse recruiter, and Precious Suchora Farroni, PHR, SHRMCP, an advanced practice recruiter, both from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, helped nurse attendees differentiate between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV), offered tips to make both stand out, and provided tips to help boost professional profiles.
Everything You Need to Know About Awards, Grants, and Scholarships
Oncology nurses seeking to further their education, earn continuing education credits, perform research, or implement professional projects are encouraged to apply for funding through the ONS Foundation, a charitable arm of ONS. Linda Worrall, RN, MSN, executive director of the ONS Foundation, presented an overview of their many awards, grants, and scholarships.
Best Practices for Abstract Writing and Presentation
The development of an abstract, poster, or podium presentation is a significant undertaking. Presenting the scope of your work in a concise and effective way can be daunting, but it does not have to be. Erica Fischer-Cartlidge, MSN, CNS, CBCN®, AOCNS®, a clinical nurse specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, provided advice on abstract writing and presentation.
How Do You Find Clinical Trials Through the NCI’s Advanced Clinical Trials Search?
As part of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and in collaboration with the Presidential Innovation Fellows, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) developed and launched a new website in 2016. It provides user-friendly access to the repository of abstracts of cancer clinical trials that NCI supported.
How Did You Continue to Provide Cancer Care for Patients After a Natural Disaster?
When a severe tornado hit Joplin, MO, on the evening of May 22, 2011, the situation was serious. St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin was hit so hard that it is still unusable. It needed to be evacuated, nearby Freeman hospital became quickly overwhelmed with patients, and the surrounding community prepared for action.
Cancer Care When Disaster Strikes
In the early hours of September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike—a category 2 hurricane—hit Galveston Island, TX, bringing with it sustained winds of up to 110 miles per hour and storm surges reaching as high as 17 feet. By the next day, more than 200 shelters had opened across Texas to house the estimated 40,000 people who had been forced to evacuate from their homes.
How Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Can Reduce Compassion Fatigue
When I received an offer for a position on the stem cell transplant unit at UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh, PA, I had no question about whether to accept it. It was, and still is, my dream nursing job. I started in August 2015 and have since grown as a healthcare professional and as a person. This setting is challenging physically, mentally, and psychologically. My undergraduate education prepared me well for the technical aspects of nursing, but I had little training in managing the emotions that would come with this job.
Natural Disasters Take a Toll on Both Patients and Nurses, at the Cancer Center and at Home
I live in Middle Tennessee, an area that’s part of tornado alley, a pathway across central United States that has a higher incidence of tornadoes. We routinely prepare for the storms, listening for the tornado sirens whether at home or work. Although there have been a number of tornado touchdowns in our region in recent years, fortunately none have directly hit our healthcare facilities.
An Insider’s Guide to Getting Published
One of the primary vehicles for sharing your expertise with colleagues and peers is to publish a professional article. This process may seem daunting and difficult—an impression that no doubt deters many oncology nurses from pursuing it. But the truth is that getting published is a feasible goal. It is also one that enhances your professional development.
Oncology Nurses Can Have a Global Impact—in Bhutan and Beyond
Oncology nursing has certain universal truths: Your patients are going to need care. They’re going to need advocates, educators, and support systems to help them face their cancer diagnoses. Whether you work in a town that’s as American as apple pie or the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas, oncology nurses are at the ground level providing patient-centered care that leads to positive outcomes.
An Oncology Nurse Discussed What It’s Also Like to Be a Patient
When an oncology nurse becomes a patient with cancer, the experience can shed light on the cancer journey and help other nurses comprehend what their patients go through. During a session at the 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO, as part of the annual Mara Mogensen Flaherty Memorial Lectureship, Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN®, an advanced practice nurse at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center and an associate professor in the UCLA School of Nursing, shared her journey, describing the terror that comes with diagnosis, the frequent unsupportive social interactions, and the symptom burden.