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.”
Your Words Matter, So Use Them to Advocate for Change
When my son was in nursery school, his teachers encouraged him to express his frustration with others by “using his words” rather than lashing out in some other nonproductive way. I was reminded of the power of words delivered by a compelling speaker when watching a video of the comedian and advocate, Jon Stewart, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee about the needs of 9/11 first responders. His passion was evident in his voice, in his emotionally laden pauses, and in the words that he used to describe the ongoing healthcare concerns of those heroes. His strong testimony moved the committee and House to support the legislation, pass it on to the Senate, and send it to President Trump’s desk, where he signed it into law in July 2019. Stewart told a convincing story to bring others to action.
Summer’s Dog Days Are Energizing, Not Lazy, for ONS and Its Volunteers
A few weeks in July and August are known as the dog days of summer—the days where the heat makes us feel particularly laid back and lazy. I have always thought that these hottest days of the year, when even dogs languished from the heat, gave us a chance to slow down and offered a break from the intensity of work or school. It was a time for families to enjoy relaxing vacations and children to make memories of new friendships and adventures. I decided to Google the meaning of dog days and lazy days. I found that the term lazy days was similar to my thinking, but dog days has a different meaning.
Exhilarating Chapter Leadership Weekend Was the Perfect Combination of Learning and Fun
One word comes to mind to describe the 2019 ONS Chapter Leadership Weekend (CLW): exhilarating. As a chapter Board member attending for the first time, I learned new information, networked and met with dedicated chapter leaders, and of course got to eat some delicious food while in Pittsburgh.
The Future of Oncology Care Depends on You
Have you had “aha” moments in your life? Times when you finally understood something so completely that you could now fully explain it to someone else? Perhaps you had an aha moment after a session at the recent ONS Congress or after reading an article in the Oncology Nursing Forum or Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. Or maybe you finally understood the benefits of dual inhibition of ER+ metastatic breast cancer with antihormonal therapy and CDK4/6 inhibitors after reviewing the recent infographic included with your ONS journal mailing in May.
Educational Integrity Is an ONS and ONCC Priority, Evident in Revised Policy
Leadership, integrity, inclusion, and diversity were common threads in several discussions during the ONS Board of Directors’ conference call on May 21, 2019. In addition to finalizing plans for their participation in the Leadership Think Tank, which will be held on July 22–23, 2019, the Board made the following decisions and approvals.
Bidens Step Down From Foundation as Presidential Campaign Is Formalized
As the 2020 presidential campaign kicks into high gear, the much-anticipated candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden was announced. Biden, along with his wife Jill, had to make the necessary legal adjustments to cut ties with their formal involvement in the Biden Foundation, including a number of cancer-related projects. The Bidens made the move to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest with a presidential run.
Think Tank Will Explore Nurse Leadership Development Initiatives
On Sunday, April 14, 2019, the ONS Board of Directors held a face-to-face meeting at the end of a highly successful ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA. New directors took office and new plans unfolded for fostering nurse leaders and supporting ONS chapters.
Commit to Protect and Care for Yourself During Oncology Nursing Month
May is a month of celebration as we look forward to graduations, Mother’s Day, National Nurses’ Day, and Oncology Nursing Month. Many of us will celebrate with small gifts or trinkets, continuing education events, or treats like special breakfasts, donuts, or pizza parties from our employers. How will you celebrate your role in a profession that the public continues to describe as the most trusted year after year? How will you continue to nurture and protect yourself as one of nearly 4 million national treasures?
Advocate in Your Own Backyard
Advocacy is a pillar for both ONS and me, personally. As a professor, organizer, chapter leader, and now ONS president, engagement in oncology nursing issues is an essential part of what I do and who I am. In March 2019, I accompanied ONS staff along with my ONS Pittsburgh Chapter colleague, Grace Campbell, PhD, MSW, RN, CRRN, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, to meet with Congressional Representative Connor Lamb’s (D-PA) district office director.
ONS Remains a Financially Strong Organization Into 2019
Cancer care is evolving rapidly, and ONS is committed to providing oncology nurses with tools to stay abreast of innovative treatments and technologies used to care for people with cancer. The ONS Board of Directors has both strategic and stewardship responsibilities for the fiscal health of the organization that will help us to meet those goals.
ONS 44th Annual Congress Opening Celebrates Nurse Inventors and Nurse-Led Innovation
Keynote speaker and ONS member Rachel Walker, PhD, RN, nurse inventor and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, emphasized the vital role nurses play as agents of innovation and invention in practice during the opening session on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA.
We Are All Florence Nightingale
At first this seems like a bold statement, but think about it for a moment. What do we know about Florence Nightingale? She is credited as the founder of modern nursing and embodied nursing leadership and advocacy. She improved hygiene practices in hospitals, resulting in fewer infections and deaths. She pioneered statistical analysis on the conditions surrounding the provision of medical care, especially during the Crimean War, and used visual presentations (or early infographics). She created patient services, such as a kitchen that prepared special dietary meals for patients, a laundry to provide clean linens, and a library for patients’ intellectual stimulation.
ONCC Welcomes New Executive Director
The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)—an independent affiliate of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)—has been providing oncology nurses with certification to demonstrate their expertise and excellence in oncology nursing care for more than 30 years. On April 8, 2019, ONCC will welcome Tony Ellis, CAE, as its new executive director. Following the retirement of long-time director Cynthia Miller Murphy, MSN, RN, CAE, FAAN, Ellis will be only the second person in ONCC history to serve executive director.
Miller Murphy Retires After Storied Career in Oncology
As a vanguard for oncology nursing certification and practice excellence, Cynthia Miller Murphy, MSN, RN, CAE, FAAN, executive director for the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC), is a nationally recognized expert in credentialing. Her tenure as ONCC executive director helped nurses achieve more than 100,000 different certifications to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in nursing and patient-centered care. After almost 30 years at ONCC, Miller Murphy is retiring as executive director effective April 8, 2019.
By Growing Together, We Can Transform Care
The ONS Congress Planning team really nailed it this year. In Just four words, using the theme of Growing Together, Transforming Care, they were able to describe the essence of why we will gather as a professional organization for ONS’s annual meeting.
Board Forms Framework for the Future of ONS and Oncology Nursing
Setting ONS up for a strong future was the overarching theme of the January 2019 ONS Board of Directors meeting by conference call. The group appointed new members to the Leadership Development Committee—which grows, shapes, and nominates ONS’s future leaders—and devised a strategy for identifying what oncology nursing’s role will be 10 years in the future.
2019 Will Be a Strategic Bridge Year as ONS Looks Ahead to a New Decade
Oncology nurses have seen many changes in the past decade with significant improvements in cancer treatment, better symptom management and palliative care, and enhanced care coordination. But much work needs to be done as we look toward the future.
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.
Board Looks at Ways to Involve More Members in Chapters
During the October 2018 board meeting held at the national office, the ONS Board of Directors heard reports from leadership and status reports on research and evidence-based practice work, discussed key initiatives, received an update from the Oncology Nursing Foundation, and reviewed and approved the Society’s operating budget for 2019. Additionally, two key generative discussions focused on the ongoing implementation of ONS chapter model changes and a review and strategy session around ONS position statements.
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.
Chapters and Practice-Specific Topics Were on Board Agenda for August
ONS chapters, endorsed recommendations and guidelines, and the role of nurses caring for patients with cancer topped the ONS Board of Directors’ discussion topics during its August 2018 conference call meeting.
When ONS Speaks, People Listen
As this important midterm election approaches, my hope is that all ONS members recognize the importance of raising our collective voices as we elect our next leaders at the local, state, and federal level on November 6. In the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama, “It is more important than ever that we show up to vote, not just this year, but every year and in every election. Every voice must be heard, and every vote must be counted.”
Specialty Nursing 30 Years Later: Details May Change, but the Heart of Nursing Remains
While awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Florence last month, I took the opportunity to purge the proverbial closets. One contained dozens of VHS tapes. I had no need to keep most of them, but one caught my attention. “Focus: Specialty Nursing” was produced by the National Nursing Network. The video referenced how changes in the healthcare system were resulting in increased nursing specialization and a growing number of specialty nursing organizations. Leaders of specialty nursing organizations who were attending the National Federation of Specialty Nursing Organizations (NFSNO) annual meeting were interviewed. The tape is not dated, but I am guessing it was produced in the late 1980s because Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, ONS president from 1987–1989, discussed oncology nursing.
What Do You Stand For?
Some lines are more memorable than others. In the Broadway musical Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton challenges Aaron Burr with this statement: “If you stand for nothin’, Burr, what will you fall for?”
I have stolen that line when teaching nurses about bullying and incivility in our workplaces. Unfortunately, this is a topic that we still need to talk about.
Congress, Board Goals, and More Are Key Discussions During June Board Meeting
Look for some new changes related to ONS Board of Directors activities during the 44th Annual ONS Congress in Anaheim, CA, in April 2019. During its June 2018 meeting, the Board discussed and made decisions about two Congress-related topics: the annual business meeting and the inclusion of leadership awareness.
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.
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.
What ONS Does When the Question Can’t Be Answered Definitively
How frustrating it can be not to have enough evidence to answer a question definitively. That happens often in clinical practice, even as we build evidence for it. Expert opinion can help when the body of research does not. This spring, we have continued work in two areas in which answers are not definitive.
Board Continues to Align ONS to Meet Changing Member and Healthcare Needs
To meet the ONS mission as well as 501(c)(6) organization requirements, ONS’s key categories of revenue and expenses continue to focus on providing member and educational services, such as website resources, online and journal-related continuing nursing education, and publications that support oncology nurses and quality patient care.
ONS Scholar-in-Residence Will Drive Nursing Research, Highlight Scientists
Whether being called on to inform the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, develop novel resources for patients with prostate cancer, or create programs for smoking cessation, nurse scientists are continually advancing patient-centered oncology care. Nurse researcher contributions have led to improved patient outcomes, better symptom management interventions, and overall quality of care. As part of its commitment to future nursing research, ONS created a new scholar-in-residence position to drive and inform the Society’s research agenda and highlight the integral work of ONS member nurse scientists who are moving the needle for patients with cancer.
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 Board Looks In the Rearview Mirror as We Cruise Ahead
To save costs and reduce the number of meetings, the ONS Board combined the traditional January and March meetings into a late-February meeting. It served as my final in-person board meeting, a bittersweet moment filled with reflection on ONS’s past, present, and future.
ONS Leaders Named to Biden Cancer Initiative Board and Advisory Committee
ONS President Susan Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, was appointed to the Biden Cancer Initiative board of directors, among other experts in health care, business, finance, and technology. The Cancer Initiative also named ONS Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon MSN, RN, FAAN, to its advisory committee, comprised of 25 other experts aiming to transform the way cancer is detected, diagnosed, and treated by implementing new solutions to complex healthcare problems.
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.
Oncology Nurse and ONS Member Named President of Johns Hopkins Health System
ONS member and oncology nurse, Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN, former president of Duke University Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC, was appointed president of the John Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, both in Baltimore, MD, on December 8, 2017, and begins his tenure on February 1, 2018. He is only the second person in Johns Hopkins history to hold these dual roles.
Nominating Colleagues for Nursing Awards Is a Professional Responsibility
At two national nursing events in October 2017, ONS members received prestigious awards. You may have seen the news about them in your ONS Voice weekly emails. They did not receive these awards without the work of colleagues who prepared their nominations.
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.”
Quality Cancer Care Includes Recognizing Underrepresented Patients
For oncology nurses, quality cancer care isn’t just about individualizing care for your patients, following local and national guidelines to the letter, or educating patients and family members to get them through their cancer diagnosis. Those are critical components to great cancer care, but tangible and intangible elements impact oncology as well.
Fennimore Selected as 2018–2020 ONS President-Elect Through New Governance Process
Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, professor of acute and tertiary care at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, PA, has been selected as the next ONS president for the 2018–2020 term. She will be president-elect effective January 1, 2018. Fennimore’s appointment is the first under the ONS bylaw changes that were voted into practice by members in 2016. These governance changes provide the ONS Board of Directors the authority to select candidates from among the member-elected directors-at-large to fill officer roles on the ONS Board.
Advocacy Can Make a Difference
As part of its mission, ONS honors and maintains nursing’s historical and essential commitment to advocacy for the public good. Working collaboratively with policymakers, cancer and nursing community advocates, and other stakeholders at the local, state, federal, and international levels, ONS seeks to integrate the nursing perspective throughout the policymaking process and urges that oncology nurses be appointed to all relevant federal panels, committees, commissions, and boards. During its September conference call, the ONS Board of Directors focused on two key areas of ONS advocacy.