As I begin my ONS presidency, I want to acknowledge the challenges and stress we have endured the past two years, which were most likely the hardest years in our careers. We need time to grieve for loss of patients; changes in the nursing profession, including equipment and personnel shortages; and the personal things we have lost that give meaning to who we are—graduations, weddings, memorial services, vacations. It all matters.
Having just returned from our 47th Annual ONS Congress® and experiencing attendees’ passion and energy, I know that we can now breathe and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our first in-person Congress since 2019 allowed me to connect and celebrate with all of you, and I am honored to serve as your next president.
As always, Congress was an opportunity for nurses to learn about new treatments, technologies, cutting-edge research, and best practices, equipping us to deliver high-quality cancer care around the world. Congress also provided much-needed time for networking, meeting new oncology nursing colleagues who share the same passion for cancer care as we do, and reuniting with old colleagues who we hadn’t seen in person in two years. Our oncology nursing family came back together, and it was truly a reunion and a celebration.
ONS has exciting things on the horizon. First, we are releasing a new strategic plan in 2023. The plan is built on a foundation of our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative and taps into our talented workforce of oncology nurses to deliver state-of-the-art cancer care. Through our diversity, we are an organization of many—practice environments, geographic locations, races, and roles—and we value you all.
Our members represent the theme of Congress: Many Voices, Common Mission. Each one of you contributes to our chosen specialty that we call oncology nursing. From caring for patients through diagnosis, treatment, and end of life, to educating the next generation of oncology nurses, and to building the foundational scientific evidence for our practice, oncology nurses make a difference, and we need each and every one of you.
Second, one of my 2022–2023 goals is to elevate our focus on how we can work together to recruit and prepare the next generation of oncology nurses. Older nurses are retiring, and we need to capture their knowledge and experiences as we move forward. We have workplaces full of younger generations with unique needs who want opportunities to lead and grow, but they need mentorship from more experienced nurses. And then we have new graduate nurses entering the workforce, ready to get started. Each diverse generation is valued and needed, and capitalizing on each generation’s strengths can enable us to accomplish our strategic agenda.
I’m calling all oncology nurses to reach deeply into your experiences and perspectives and remind yourselves why you are here. The pandemic was difficult, but it’s important for us to be mindful of our passion, our purpose, and the heart of oncology nursing. It is my honor and privilege to work with all of you this coming year. The Board and I welcome your ideas and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.