Although it’s hard to find the time to do so during a busy shift, there are times when you need to consult the best practice standards to support your work for a particular process. Whether you’re considering the best procedure for a central line dressing change or accessing an implanted port, or you’re considering the verification process and the best way to administer an IV chemotherapy agent, you need to know that your policies—and the competencies which you've engrained into your memory—are evidence-based and supported by your institution and professional organizations. Quality outcomes and measurements have never been more central to health care than they are now, and ONS-developed standards go a long way to supporting your practice.

ONS standards are created using a rigorous process to ensure that they’re based on the strongest evidence available and are consistent with other ONS resources and guidelines. Once drafted, they’re circulated for peer review and public comment, in which we encourage all our members to engage. They’re revised to ensure accuracy and translatability into nursing care. ONS revises the standards on a routine basis to ensure consistency with evolving evidence. We’re passionate about providing clinical nurses with standards they can depend on to result in oncology practice that yields the best opportunity for positive patient outcomes.

Currently ONS has standards that support nurses in the following areas.

  • Chemotherapy administration safety, developed in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and newly updated in November 2016
  • Educational preparation of nurses who are involved with chemotherapy and biotherapy administration
  • Access device management
  • Nursing documentation
  • The scope of practice as oncology nurses 

To identify areas in which to develop standards, ONS staff and experts review practice trends and gaps in which our members and the nursing community will benefit from formal standards to support and articulate best practices. 

The development of standards for clinical practice has taken high priority as ONS pursues its 2016–2019 strategic plan. As the Society advances excellence in oncology nursing and promoting quality cancer care, we continue to seek the support of members in voicing which standards are needed, providing valuable input into their development, and keeping us informed as to how we can best support oncology nurses as they implement new standards into existing policies and procedures.