Adversity Fuels Greatness

April 04, 2022 by Nancy Houlihan MA, RN, AOCN®, ONS President

Governing ONS—including fiduciary oversight for all investments and budgets and strategic decision-making that secures the future of the organization—is the ONS Board of Directors’ primary role. In even the best of times, it is a serious commitment to govern our complex association, but the unpredictable environment we have experienced since early 2020 has increased that challenge.

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

Yet the ONS Board successfully navigated change after change, making difficult decisions and applying innovative approaches to unprecedented challenges. We have kept our mission and values intact, and ONS is prepared for the future. Our work is done in close collaboration with ONS’s talented CEO, Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, and staff. As we adjust to a changed planet and healthcare industry and indeterminant normalcy goal line, ONS is in a healthy state.

I complete my term on the Board and my two-year presidency at the end of April 2022 at the annual ONS Congress® in Anaheim, CA. My tenure was a unique time to lead, with meetings with Board members who never met in person until 18 months into their service. Entirely remotely, we dealt with canceling the 2020 Congress, pivoting to a virtual meeting, rapidly creating COVID-19 support and resources for our members, and not overreacting to the rollicking stock market. We renewed our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and continue to define ways to address the diverse needs of our members and the patients we serve.

In January 2022, with overwhelming membership approval, we completed a five-year journey to secure our future leadership with changes to the election processes. The initiative, co-led by ONS Past President Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Leadership Development Committee (LDC) Past Chair Margaret Hansen Frogge, RN, MSN, current LDC Chair Donald “Chip” Bailey, PhD, RN, FAAN, and multiple Boards of Directors, has culminated in an LDC–Board of Directors selection process that identifies the best candidates to meet the Board’s dynamic and diverse needs. This significant advancement in securing ONS future leadership is an example of the Board’s commitment to always pushing ONS forward based on the best evidence and trends in association management.

The phrase “adversity fuels greatness” is one we have come to understand the past two years, nowhere more than at ONS. The 2020, 2021, and 2022 Boards of Directors have connected with each other, built a culture of commitment, honored our past while creating a future—all with extraordinary optimism, generosity, and joy.

I am grateful and proud to have served on the Board with outstanding oncology nursing leaders and partners in governing ONS: ONS President-Elect Jeannine M. Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, FAAN, Darcy Burbage, DNP, RN, AOCN®, CBCN®, Valerie Burger, MA, MS, RN, OCN®, CPN, Kristin Ferguson, DNP, RN, OCN®, Danya Garner, MSN, RN, OCN®, CCRN-K, NPD-BC, Patricia Geddie, PhD, APRN, AOCNS®, FCNS, Teresa Knoop, MSN, RN, AOCN®, and Martha (Marty) Polovich, PhD, RN. We have shared greatness and built lifelong relationships. I wish the new Board, including incoming Directors-at-Large Deborah “Hutch” Allen, PhD, RN, CNS, FNP-BC, AOCNP®, Kris Mathey, MS, APRN-CNP, AOCNP®, and Jeanene (Gigi) Robison, MSN, APRN, AOCN®, continued success and a smoother path.

As we celebrate our return to an in-person Congress in Anaheim, may we recall where we were in April 2020 and recognize all we endured and achieved. We have difficult times ahead in restoring our profession and recovering financially, socially, and emotionally, but ONS is in good hands to guide us to more greatness as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2025. I can’t wait for that Congress celebration!


Copyright © 2022 by the Oncology Nursing Society. User has permission to print one copy for personal or unit-based educational use. Contact pubpermissions@ons.org for quantity reprints.