Oncology nurses can use various types of awards, grants, and scholarships to advance their careers. Through the ONS Foundation, ONS’s charitable arm, nurses have many options. Linda Worrall, RN, MSN, executive director of the ONS Foundation, presented an overview of the awards, grants, and scholarships that the Foundation has available for oncology nurses. 

Academic Opportunities

The ONS Foundation provides academic scholarships, career development awards, research funding, and project funding, Worrall said. When it comes to academic scholarships, funding opportunities are available for medical professionals working toward a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a master of science in nursing (MSN), a doctor of nursing practice degree (DNP), or doctoral (PhD) or doctor of nursing science (DNSc) degrees.

Each degree receives a different range in funding, and “we do evaluate that dollar amount annually,” Worrall said. She warned that although you can only receive one scholarship per academic level, you can receive scholarship money in each of the four academic levels.

The BSN academic scholarships (awarded at $3,000–$5,000), which Worrall noted has the highest volume of applicants, has three levels of criteria:

• Individuals in school who are not currently nurses

• Individuals with a college degree in another field

• Individuals with a current RN license (diploma or associates degree)

The MSN academic scholarships ($5,000) have two levels available:

• Individuals with a current RN license

• Individuals with a bachelors in another field

The DNP and PhD/DNSc scholarship opportunities are awarded at $5,000–$7,500 at a single level.

Other Options for Awards and Funding

Academic scholarships are not the only options for oncology nurses; the ONS Foundation provides career development awards, research funding, project funding, and ONS chapter funding.

Nurses seeking continuing nursing education credits can apply for the following career development awards:

• ONS Past Presidents’ Leadership Development Scholarship: $1,200

• ONS Congress Scholarship: $1,200

• Bone Marrow Transplant Education: $1,200


Nurses seeking research funding have the following options:

• Dissertation grants: $5,000

• Career development: $20,000

• Research grants: $25,000+

The ONS Foundation has $5,000 available for cancer public education projects, and ONS chapter funding provides a Leadership Weekend scholarship and Breast Cancer Community Center scholarship, each providing $1,500. 

Application Tips and Tricks

The ONS Foundation uses GrantMaker, which helps nurses apply for grants and scholarships through a step by step process. By creating a GrantMaker ID and logging in to create an application, the program “will tell you if you’ve submitted the grant or not,” Worrall said. “This is where people can get confused.”

“If your grant doesn’t say ‘submitted,’ it is not submitted,” she added.

The program can also be used to save your application continuously, so you don’t have to start over if you are not ready to submit.

Once the application is submitted through GrantMaker, it undergoes staff and review team analysis using a set scoring tool. The team will then lead a final review and provide its recommendations to the ONS Foundation Board of Trustees.

GrantMaker can make the grant application process much easier, but Worrall stressed that the ONS Foundation is available to go through all components of eligibility as well. “Have a question? Give us a call,” she said. “We want to make sure we are giving the money to people who will make an impact.”

Worrall suggested that when applying for academic scholarships, it might be best to wait a bit before official submission and submit closer to the application deadline. “Don’t submit too early,” she said. “A lot can happen in those four to six months.” If you completed a new academic project after you already submitted your application, you’ll have to create a new application to make sure that the new information is included.

Worrall also added, “Make sure that if you say you’ve done the research, that you’ve really done the research.” Although the ONS Foundation already provides numerous grants and scholarships for nurses, Worrall said that open communication is important, especially if you are a nurse just starting your career. For assistance or questions, email Worrall at lworrall@onsfoundation.org.