Standards of care are written to address safety and quality in oncology practice. When the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and ONS recognized the need to develop chemotherapy safety standards, the two organizations came together to determine how the process of delivering chemotherapy could be made as safe as possible.

At ONS, we already had a jump on that information. Through exhaustive literature searches, safety articles reviews, existing guidelines, and error reporting throughout oncology institutions, ONS had a wealth of resources for oncology nurses looking for information on safe chemotherapy administration. The scaffolding to create the ASCO/ONS Chemotherapy Safety Standards was there; however, it took a collaboration of multiple disciplines to come together and develop them.

To begin the process of developing this information into chemotherapy safety standards, in 2008, ONS and ASCO held an interdisciplinary meeting to brainstorm where the standards would need to be placed and developed the process for creating them. Through collaboration and feedback from multiple disciplines across the cancer continuum, the standards were drafted and sent out for public comment. After integrating the feedback, the groups revised and published the standards. Although it can be challenging to get every discipline on the same page and agree on the same nomenclature, creating standards by crossing disciplinary lines is truly what’s best for practitioners and patients.

However, the process doesn’t end at publication. These are fluid documents that are meant to evolve. Treatments and practices change, and how we treat someone today may not be how we treat them five years from now. ONS members are vital to helping these documents adapt as oncology care changes. It’s important for members to keep the lines of communication open with ONS. By letting us know where providers are seeing challenges, we’re able to apply that knowledge and continually update our standards.

ONS is committed to making the oncology nursing voice heard when developing and talking about oncology standards of care. Through the invaluable feedback of members, we’re able to identify gaps in patient safety and quality and work to create standards that address those issues. By hearing from our members, we can produce and develop the standards of care that are vital to oncology nursing practice.