Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, (second from left) attends Making Health Care Better: Community Oncology conference at the White House.

Healthcare professionals and oncology experts from around the United States gathered at the White House on January 11, 2017, for a conference addressing the challenges of cancer care. The meeting, Making Health Care Better: Community Oncology, invited experts to discuss the progress made in research, prevention, coverage, and quality of care. 

ONS member, past president, and current National Cancer Institute Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) member, Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, offered her experience and unique nursing perspective for the roundtable panel titled “Support Services and Cancer Survivorship.” 

As a member of the BRP, Mayer discussed the important process of developing research and implementation recommendations for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Through the work of Mayer and her colleagues, 10 priority areas were submitted to the Cancer Moonshot for consideration as it aims to make a decade’s worth of progress in five years. 

During the panel’s discussion on providing services for patients, Mayer noted the importance of symptom management’s inclusion in the Cancer Moonshot recommendations and how it affects survivorship, palliative care, and more. 

“It was decided very early on that we needed to cover the continuum of cancer care,” Mayer said. “I was very happy that our group recommended the focus on symptom management, because it allows us to address survivorship issues, palliative care issues, and end-of-life issues under the big umbrella of symptom management. As someone said before, we need to make the lives we save worth living”  

Mayer’s work with the BRP, she noted, wasn’t just to identify the important areas of research in oncology. She spoke about the need for recognizing what science already exists and how it can be implemented on a large scale, something her own research over the past five years has addressed with implementing survivorship care plans. 

“As we know,” Mayer said, “we can come up with great ideas, but if they’re not getting to the bedside or the chairside or the community, it doesn’t matter. So, we had a workgroup on dissemination and implementation and examining the science behind that.”

Advancing research and supporting new evidence-based practices will be vital for moving oncology care into the future. Nurse scientists across the country are working diligently to address patient-centered issues in cancer treatment. ONS has a long-standing commitment to oncology nurse scientists’ strategic research goals and advocates for their work on a national level. With the rigorous research and unique perspectives of oncology nurses everywhere, the goal of making a quantum leap in care of patients with cancer is well underway.