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.

Five types of funding are available to oncology nurses (not only ONS members), and Worrall presented details of each category, offered tips to help nurses develop successful submissions, and cautioned against common mistakes that frequently derail applications.

Academic Scholarships for Nurses Seeking a Degree

  • BSN: $3,000–$5,000
    • For individuals in school and not currently a nurse
    • For individuals with a college degree in another field
    • For individuals with a current RN license (diploma or associate’s degree)
  • MSN/DNP: $5,000–$7,500
    • For individuals with a current RN license
    • For individuals with a bachelor’s degree in another field
  • PhD/DNSc: $5,000–$7,500

Career Development Awards for Nurses Seeking Continuing Education Credits

  • ONS Past Presidents' Leadership Scholarship: $1,200
  • ONS Congress Scholarship: $1,200
  • Bone Marrow Transplant Education: $2,000
  • End-of-Life Care Education: $2,000
  • Pearl Moore Career Development Award: $3,000

Research Funding

  • Dissertation Grants: $5,000
  • Career Development Grants: $20,000
  • Research Grants: $25,000+

Project Funding

  • Cancer Public Education Projects: $5,000
    • For new projects that have not started
    • Not for research or patient education
    • For projects that go beyond an institution and into the community
  • Clinical Projects: To be determined
    • Evidence-based project to change an institution’s practice
  • APN/DNP Student Scholarships: To be determined

Chapter Funding

In addition to funding available to individual nurses, the ONS Foundation helps chapter leaders attend ONS Leadership Weekend ($1,000) and conduct breast cancer community education ($1,000). The ONS Foundation only awarded two community education grants last cycle, so Worrall particularly encouraged chapter leaders to take advantage of this opportunity.

Tips and Tricks

Throughout the presentation, Worrall stressed that applicants must

  • Choose the correct application
  • Carefully review the criteria
  • Make sure that they actually meet the criteria
  • Submit/answer everything that is requested
  • Be specific.

Worthy applicants have been denied, she said, simply because they applied to the wrong category or failed to fully answer a question.

Worrall took attendees through a mock application process. She demonstrated how to view grant availability and criteria on the ONS Foundation website, create an ID on the GrantMaker site, then complete an online application. GrantMaker requires each user to create one login, which then houses all of that person’s applications to the ONS Foundation.

Worrall cautioned users to save often and to ensure that all four icons (Complete, Save, Validate, and Submit) are displayed and highlighted. Many users have failed to complete the final “Submit” step; therefore, their applications were not reviewed.

Attendees also participated in a mock review of past applications, applying the rating scale that volunteer reviewers use to assess whether an application should be funded. The exercise illustrated many of the common pitfalls.

“We don’t fund just anything that comes in. We fund quality applications,” she said. “So brag a little bit about yourself and what you do.” Then ask a trusted colleague for honest feedback to help you improve your submission, she suggested. “And if you’re not eligible, there’s no doubt that you know someone who is, so spread the word!”

Worrall concluded by asking attendees to consider serving as volunteer reviewers. In addition to serving the profession, volunteers get an insider’s perspective on what makes a good application, which is helpful if they plan to apply in the future.

For assistance or questions, email Linda Worrall.

Editor’s Note: This article is a summary of a presentation given by Linda Worrall, RN, MSN, executive director of the ONS Foundation, at the 2017 ONS 42nd Annual Congress.