How ONS Is Advocating for Our Patients and Our Profession
Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer

A responsibility of the ONS president, Board members, and senior staff is to advocate for our patients and our profession. To say that 2017 was a busy year is an understatement.

This column, whether written by the president or by me, often describes where ONS has been, who has represented the organization and you, and what our advocacy or education has been. I have written before about the coalitions and alliances in which ONS is a member. However, it isn’t just the elected and staff leaders who bring voice to cancer care conversations. I would like to highlight some national events from 2017 in which members served as leaders and shared their expertise.

National Cancer Policy Forum

ONS has been a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum (NCPF), in the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, for eight years. The NCPF is a prestigious organization and the reports from the workshops are highly valued, such as the often-referenced From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. From these workshops come recommendations on issues critical in the cancer care environment. 

In July, NCPF held a workshop called Long-Term Survivorship Care After Treatment. ONS members Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, Barbara Given, PhD, RN, FAAN, Mary McCabe, RN, MA, and Susan Schneider, RN, PHD, AOCN®, FAAN, presented on models of survivorship care delivery, family caregiver issues, patient perspectives, and policy issues. Several ONS members in the audience participated in the discussions. In November, NCPF hosted a workshop on patient navigation, which Lisa Kennedy Sheldon, PhD, APRN, AOCNP®, FAAN, ONS chief clinical officer, co-chaired and ONS members Darcy Burbage, RN, MSN, AOCN®, CBCN®, Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Cynthia Cantril, RN, OCN®, MPH, gave presentations. 

American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer

Another influential organization in which ONS participates is the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). If you work in an organization that is accredited by the CoC, you know how important it is to have nursing’s perspective in the deliberations or accreditation standards. We have had outstanding representation from Diane Otte, RN, MS, OCN®, and Carma Herring, RN, MS, OCN®, through the years.   

American Society of Clinical Oncology

Since 2009, ONS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have collaborated in developing standards for the safe administration of chemotherapy. ONS member Marty Polovich, PhD, RN, AOCN®, and ONS Clinical Nurse Specialist Kris LeFebvre, MSN, RN, AOCN®, have represented ONS in this important clinical work. 

Nurses on Boards Coalition

Elevating the voice and influence of nursing is the goal of the Nurses on Boards Coalition. Laura Benson, RN, MS, ANP, has been our representative from the beginning of our membership and has been critical in helping to shape this relatively new organization. Some of you may have registered your interest to serve on boards (the focus is health system and industry boards) or in fact are serving on those boards. Make sure you enter that information on the site at

ONS is a respected organization because of the talent and expertise of our members. Increasingly, we are asked to have a seat at the table. I am so appreciative of members who generously give their time and expertise in being a voice for our patients and our profession. The year ahead promises many more opportunities.