By Maggie Smith, DNP, MSN/Ed, RN, OCN®

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.

ONS Chapters

Continuing the conversation from the July 2018 meeting, the Board is looking at ongoing implementation of the revised chapter model. Groundwork for this included benchmarking ONS’s model against 10 other nursing organizations, sharing best practice examples from ONS chapters, and understanding educational programming selection processes. This will be an ongoing agenda topic of discussion and action because supporting chapters is a critical Board priority. 

Endorsed Guidelines

To address a 2016 President’s Cancer Panel report calling for health IT tools to better support the oncology workforce, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network developed the draft Consensus Recommendations for Improving Cancer-Related Functionality of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). When published, the document will provide core recommendations of how EHRs can facilitate improved cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship. After discussing the benefits and challenges of such systems, such as usability and cross-institution communication, the Board endorsed the recommendations. 

The Board also endorsed the National Consensus Project’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care (4th edition). 

Role-Specific Position Statements

In response to a member inquiry about the potential development of a position statement on the role of the radiation oncology nurse, the Board had a rich discussion about the role of nurses caring for patients with cancer. The group ultimately concluded that any nurse caring for patients with cancer is an oncology nurse, regardless of treatment modality or practice area. All oncology nurses provide the inclusive, holistic, patient-centered care that is covered under the current ONS position statements. However, specific position statements will be edited to be clearer about this.

For more information about these and other topics discussed during the August 2018 Board meeting, refer to the full minutes at