Susan Schneider
Susan M. Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, ONS President

Specialized Knowledge: Quality Care. This is my ONS presidential platform. In several columns, I have discussed how ONS resources can provide you with the specialized knowledge and expertise to provide quality care. This issue, I’d like to focus on quality care.

Some members have asked me recently, “When did ONS become so political?” This question caused me to pause. ONS is nonpartisan. We do advocate for quality cancer care and have done so for many years. One of our strategic objectives is that we “advocate for the profession and quality cancer care.” We have a position statement on Access to Quality Cancer Care, which states:

“Access to quality cancer care is the right of all people. Quality care requires safety, efficacy, timeliness, a patient-centered approach coordinated by a multidisciplinary team, and the integration of evidence-based practice to continuously improve care. Without essential services targeted at reducing cancer risk, morbidity, and mortality, patients with cancer may suffer from decreased quality of life or less-than-optimal outcomes. Those services are prevention, early detection, risk reduction, clinical trials, treatment, palliative care, psychosocial care, survivorship, and end-of-life care.”

So, the answer to the question is: quality health care has become a political issue. ONS is continuing to be true to our mission and values by advocating for cancer care. As oncology nurses, we need to support our legislators to understand what quality care is and how laws can affect the care and lives of individuals with cancer.

This month, 100 oncology nurses will be in Washington, DC, for our ONS Hill Days event. We will talk to our senators and representatives about quality care. We will explain how screening tests and prevention can save lives. We will share stories about how being treated for childhood cancer can cause someone to reach a lifetime insurance maximum before they turn 35 years old. We will describe how patients in rural areas must travel long distances for essential treatments. We will discuss how good nursing care, such as monitoring for symptoms and planning for continuity of care, can improve quality of life and save money. We will advocate for our patients and quality cancer care!

Please join us by emphasizing the importance of quality health care with your elected officials.