In April 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the country’s first formal National Cancer Plan (NCP) under the Cancer Moonshot. It serves as a framework to guide the broad contributions across society in the United States’ work to “end cancer as we know it.”
ONS has had a seat at the table to represent our members and the oncology nursing community throughout the Cancer Moonshot. Our most recent was in September 2023, when ONS President Danya Garner, PhD, RN, NPD-BC, OCN®, CCRN-K, and I were invited to participate in a stakeholder meeting with the President’s Cancer Panel to present how ONS and you, our members, are advancing the NCP’s goals. We shared how much of what oncology nurses do daily contributes to the goals without you even knowing it. We were proud to promote how ONS, its affiliated corporations—the Oncology Nursing Foundation and Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation—and you are advancing quality cancer care.
The President’s Cancer Panel was created under the National Cancer Act of 1971 and charged with monitoring the national cancer program. Its members serve as advisors to the sitting U.S. president, particularly regarding barriers to reducing the cancer burden.
The 2023 NCP has eight goals:
- Prevent cancer.
- Detect cancers early.
- Develop effective treatments.
- Eliminate inequities.
- Develop optimal care.
- Engage every person.
- Maximize data utility.
- Optimize the workforce.
Of the 12 organizations participating in the September 2023 stakeholder meeting, ONS was the only nursing association. Each organization was given 30 minutes on the eight-hour meeting agenda: 15 minutes to identify and describe three activities that contribute to one or more of the NCP’s goals and another 15 minutes for questions.
Presenting for ONS, President Garner provided a brief overview of our corporations and three of our activities that support NCP goals. He represented you and ONS powerfully and passionately.
Symptom management is at the core of oncology nursing practice, which we related to goals 3 and 5. Our deep and broad evidence-based resources span a variety of communication and education methods, including 28 rigorously developed symptom interventions and guidelines, 67 courses, 282 (and growing) podcasts, and journals and books.
All three corporations are developing the oncology nursing pipeline in support of goal 8. Oncology nursing roles and practices are diverse, but we focused on three constituencies for the panel presentation: prelicensure students, nurse practitioners, and PhD-prepared nurse scientists. We particularly recognized the nurse scientist shortage’s dual impact on education and generation of evidence.
A unifying theme across the stakeholders was barriers to care, whether related to the workforce, reimbursement, technology, or scalability and sustainability of innovative programs.
The President’s Cancer Panel is preparing a report that synthesizes all 12 presentations to submit to the president. We will let you know how to access it when it is posted to the NCP website.
We hear frequently that nursing needs a seat at the table. As those opportunities arise, the relationships we’ve built in Washington, DC, through our volunteer leadership, staff, and so many of you have ensured that ONS is the voice of and for oncology nurses at the table.