Should Patients With Cancer Receive COVID-19 Vaccines? Here’s What Oncology Nurses Need to Know
Patients with cancer who are infected with COVID-19 coronavirus have an overall 21.2% increased mortality rate, compared to 8.7% for those without cancer—and for those with a smoking history, mortality increases to 31.1%. With statistics like those, should patients with cancer get COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible?
Sunstar Americas, Inc., Expands Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Paroex® Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse USP, 0.12%, for Microbial Contamination
On December 28, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Sunstar Americas, Inc., expanded its October 27, 2020, voluntary recall of Paroex® chlorhexidine gluconate oral Rinse USP, 0.12%, because of possible contaminated with the bacteria Burkholderia lata.
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.
FDA Warns Against Wearing Face Masks With Metal During MRI Exams
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert on December 7, 2020, informing patients and healthcare providers that patients may be injured if they wear face masks with metal parts and coatings during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams. Metal parts (e.g., nose pieces, nanoparticles, or antimicrobial coatings that may contain metal such as silver or copper) may become hot and burn patients during MRIs.
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.
Manage Malnutrition’s Monstrous Consequences in Patients With Cancer
Nutritional status is one aspect of cancer care that may often be overlooked. Patients, particularly those with esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, and non-small cell lung cancers, have increased nutritional requirements because of their high resting energy expenditure. Treatment side effects further hinder a patient’s desire and ability to eat, creating a wider gap between energy intake and energy needs and placing patients with cancer at high risk for malnutrition.
Annual Survey Shows Youth Vaping Is Still a National Epidemic
In 2020, the number of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes decreased by 1.8 million compared to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported in the results of the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey. However, the results also showed that youth tobacco use is still an epidemic in the United States.
Opioids Can Be Used Safely for Cancer-Related Pain
During the current opioid epidemic, a safe, balanced approach to pain management is imperative. In an ONS Bridge presentation, Jeannine M. Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, FAAN, discussed the use of opioids in patients with cancer.
Black Box Warnings Guide Oncologic Emergencies in Acute Care and Outpatient Settings
The transition of chemotherapy and immunotherapy delivery from the acute care and clinic settings to the home setting has created a need for innovative strategies to keep patients safe. Today, with decreased face-to-face interactions, the need for those strategies and tools is even greater in a system reliant on multiple facilities and disciplines to collaborate care in a time when resources are sometimes scarce or minimal, Mary Jo Sarver, ARNP, AOCN®, CRNI, VA-BC, LNC, said in an on-demand session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference.
The Case of the Major Malnutrition Concerns
Max, a 60-year-old patient with head and neck cancer, is receiving chemoradiation. Since his initial consult, he’s experienced a 12% weight loss from baseline, impaired swallowing, pain, anorexia, and dysgeusia. He has financial challenges, limited social support, poor health literacy, and a history of alcohol abuse. He has a feeding tube, but you suspect he is not using it. You reinforce prior education about malnutrition, and although Max refuses to be admitted to the hospital, he promises to do better.
When Function Becomes Malfunction
Malfunctioning medical products can pose safety risks to both patients and nurses and waste valuable time and resources. All medical devices and equipment used in the United States must pass specific manufacturing requirements before they can be approved for sale. But every product, regardless of performance, is subject to malfunction. A challenge for nurses is determining whether an issue is a rare failure or if the product is legitimately problematic.
Antibody-Drug Conjugates Join the Best of Two Worlds Into One New Treatment
A new class of drugs, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), combines the specificity of targeted therapy with the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy for a powerhouse effect against certain types of cancer variants. Here’s what you need to know about this novel treatment modality.
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.
Oncology Drug Reference Sheet: Capecitabine
Capecitabine (Xeloda®) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 as a nucleoside metabolic inhibitor with antineoplastic activity indicated for adjuvant colon cancer, metastatic colorectal cancer, and metastatic breast cancer.
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.
How to Prevent Opioid Misuse While Effectively Managing Cancer Pain
Opioid misuse is prevalent among the U.S. population—so much so that President Trump declared it a public health emergency in 2017. At the same time, research shows that 20%–50% of patients with cancer and 80% of those with advanced-stage disease report experiencing moderate to severe pain. Balancing the dichotomies is difficult, but oncology nurses and other cancer care providers have a responsibility to provide comprehensive pain management for patients with cancer.
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.
FDA Announces Leucovorin Drug Shortage
On April 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that supplies of leucovorin calcium lyophilized powder for injection manufactured by Sagent Pharmaceuticals are currently in shortage. On April 21, the agency expanded the shortage to include supplies manufactured by Fresenius Kabi USA and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
State Governors Lead U.S. Response to COVID-19
Although the United States federal government is coordinating the nation’s public health campaign against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the states—and the governors in particular—are coordinating across the country and party lines to implement containment plans using all the public and private tools at their disposal.
Oncology Drug Reference Sheet: Panitumumab
Approved in 2006 as monotherapy for the treatment of patients with EGFR-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) after disease progression following treatment, panitumumab has been a mainstay metastatic disease for more than a decade. In 2014, it received additional indication as first-line therapy for the treatment of patients with EGFR-expressing mCRC in combination with FOLFOX, but in 2017, use was narrowed to wild-type RAS (not mutated RAS).
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 Fact Sheet and Implications for Patients With Cancer
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus (a large family of viruses that can cause cold-like illnesses) first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It is a respiratory illness and can be spread from person to person, possibly through respiratory droplets during close contact. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020.
Staffing Levels in Ambulatory Oncology Nursing
Convenience. Flexibility. Normalcy. Ambulatory oncology clinics deliver on those three crucially important aspects of treatment to many patients with cancer, offering expert care without a hospital stay or traveling far from home.
ONS Members Help Drive the Ambulatory Staffing Discussion
With evolving treatments and novel approaches to care, outpatient oncology practice has grown exponentially during the past two decades. As a vital stop on the cancer journey for many patients, ambulatory clinics have seen a boom in acuity, patient needs, and staffing demands. ONS has been actively researching the growing staffing dilemma in ambulatory oncology nursing to help institutions understand and address nurse-patient staffing and which best practices can accommodate the varied challenges.
The Case of the Candy-Coated (Mis)Conception
P.G. is a 54-year-old woman who presents to the infusion center to receive her second cycle of chemotherapy for breast cancer. As her oncology nurse, you check the chemotherapy orders and patient history and are concerned to see that her weight has dropped by 10% from baseline, necessitating a change in dosing.
Nurses Can Protect Patients From Neurotoxicity During Lumbar Puncture Procedures
When cleaning patients’ skin in preparation for lumbar puncture procedures, oncology nurses must consider side effects from use of various germicide solutions. Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) solution has been considered the broad-spectrum germicide effective against most nosocomial yeasts and gram-positive and -negative bacteria. It’s available as 2% or 5% CHG in 70% isopropyl alcohol and is used as an antiseptic for skin preparation and central venous catheter dressings.
Prevent Important Information From Getting Lost in Translation
At the heart of patient-centered cancer care is communication and understanding, and oncology nurses have a responsibility to ensure that their patients have all the information they need to successfully navigate their cancer journey. But what happens when language barriers inhibit the flow of information between patient and practitioner?
More Nurses Are Obtaining BSN Degrees
After the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2010 report on the “Future of Nursing,” the nursing field made a concerted effort to encourage current and incoming nurses to achieve higher education through a Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) degree or higher. As lifelong learners, nurses are committed to providing the best care possible and consistently furthering their education is part of that commitment. According to a report from AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 56% of U.S. nurses hold a BSN or higher, an all-time high for the profession.
How Oncology Nurses Support Non-Oncology Units Administering Chemotherapy
Most patients and practitioners associate chemotherapy with cancer treatments, yet the drugs are also used to treat a number of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody–associated vasculitis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Right-to-Try Bill Fails to Pass House; Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Help Patients Navigate Cancer Care; President’s Cancer Panel Urges Action to Lower Drug Costs
Legislation ushering experimental drugs and treatments to patients without U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval hit a snag on March 13, 2018, after it failed to garner enough votes in the House of Representatives. The right-to-try bill, a priority for the Trump administration, didn’t accrue the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass it along to the Senate. Lawmakers opposed to the bill had lingering questions about the safety concerns connected to bypassing FDA regulations for patients searching for new treatments. Patient advocacy groups have been speaking out against tenets of the bill, expressing concern for removing the FDA from the process.
Prevent Physical Injury Through Safe Patient Handling
Every job has its perils, and some of those perils are more pronounced than others. For nurses, professional hazards range from dangerous chemical exposure to workplace violence, to severe back and arm injuries, and everything in between. In fact, National Public Radio reported that more than 35,000 nursing professionals experience back and body injuries every year.
Time Is Short When Addressing Hypersensitivity Reactions to Chemotherapy
Between administering antineoplastic agents, monitoring patient vitals, and preparing patients for treatment, oncology nurses are required to balance their attention between many intricate tasks. Chief among the division of duties is that oncology nurses closely monitor their patients for hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) to prescribed agents.
Using Standards Balances Technology Advancements With Critical Thinking
Advancements in medical records technology provide safeguards and contribute to overall patient safety. However, consider the following treatment scenarios and how they may present opportunities for error and jeopardize patient safety.
CDC Warns Healthcare Workers of Emerging, Multidrug-Resistant Fungus
Candida auris is a multi-drug resistant yeast that is known to cause invasive infection and death. It first emerged in June 2016 and continues to present itself as a serious global threat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), throughout 2017, healthcare facilities in multiple countries report serious illnesses caused by C.auris in hospitalized patients.
Mindfulness Meditation Can Improve Safety in Your Practice
Mindfulness meditation is a popular topic in the media now. Research has already demonstrated the clinical benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction for patients with chronic pain or anxiety disorders. Although there’s been limited research about the benefits of mindfulness stress reduction for oncology nurses and their patients, some evidence suggests that engaging in mindfulness exercises could lead to a safer environment.