Volunteer Leaders Uphold ONS’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values

November 01, 2021 by Nancy Houlihan MA, RN, AOCN®, ONS President

Leadership is a group activity, and the ONS vision, mission, and core values can be achieved only through full participation of ONS's Board of Directors and other groups. The volunteer members serving as directors-at-large meet at least monthly to achieve the annual objectives, and the Board’s subcommittees—as well as other standing committees of volunteer members outside of the Board—accomplish specific goals. ONS uses two key committees to achieve excellence, quality, and sustainability through leadership: the Board’s Positions Subcommittee and the Leadership Development Committee (LDC).

Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®, ONS President
Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®, ONS President

Position Statements

The Board’s Positions Subcommittee develops, reviews, and revises ONS’s position statements alongside ONS staff and volunteer subject matter experts before presenting them to the Board for approval. The statements speak to the unique perspective ONS has on an issue to help influence policy-making that reflects the Society’s values and mission. The subcommittee’s work informs policymakers, ONS members, and others of the issues or positions that ONS takes and supports.

As new topics become significant, the subcommittee develops new position statements; if the evidence is insufficient for ONS to take a position, the subcommittee generates and disseminates a white paper on the topic. The committee also reviews other health and cancer care organizations’ positions for endorsement and collaboration, rather than each group generating similar individual positions. For example, ONS endorses the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care’s position on tobacco control.

ONS’s most recent position statements are Infusion of Antineoplastic Therapies in the Home, Staffing of Ambulatory Treatment Centers, and Use of E-Cigarettes and Vaping. Get a complete list of our positions online.

Leadership Development

The LDC is a standing committee of seven Board-appointed volunteer members that oversees ONS’s leadership development initiatives, including:

Following current guidance in association management, the LDC replaced the longstanding Nominating Committee in 2016 to expand the leadership skill development process and build the Board leadership pipeline. During the past five years, the LDC has enhanced the recruitment process for future ONS leaders and worked closely with the Board to identify the organization’s leadership needs and competency gaps to fill and maintain.

As association leadership has become increasingly complex and inclusivity and diversity are core ONS values, ensuring a leadership slate to meet our needs is key to our organization’s future growth. With that in mind, ONS is proposing a bylaws change to the election process to a board-approved slate submitted by the LDC rather than a general election. The bylaws change will appear on the election ballot in January 2022 for member vote. Learn more online, and plan to join us for a live panel discussion I’ll be hosting with the LDC on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, from 6–7 pm EST. This virtual event will be an opportunity where you can share comments and ask questions. As members, your voice in the Society is critical, and we are listening to your feedback.

Leading ONS to achieve our vision, mission, and goals through our strategic plan and core values is the Board’s responsibility. The structure and processes of these committees support the Board’s governance of our membership association. ONS relies on the talent and dedication of our volunteer leaders to accomplish the organization’s ongoing work to pursue excellence in oncology nursing and to represent the interests of our members and the welfare of our patients.


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