ONS, HVO Partnership Offers International Opportunities for Nurses

March 16, 2017 by Chris Pirschel ONS Staff Writer/Producer

In a new international partnership, ONS is teaming up with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) (https://hvousa.org/) to provide opportunities for ONS members to work with healthcare providers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Volunteers are given the opportunity to make an impact by sharing their expertise through educating, training, and developing healthcare professionals in LMICs.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for more than 8.8 million deaths globally (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/). Oncology professionals are very familiar with the difficulties facing patients with cancer throughout their treatment. Without the access to proper resources, the application of evidence-based practices, and a focus on professional growth, healthcare providers in LMICs know that their patients will face suboptimal outcomes and lower rates of survival. ONS members have the chance to become valuable partners in this process by improving the quality of care and outcomes for patients with cancer in LMICs.

“ONS is excited to support the efforts of HVO,” ONS President Susan Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, said. “Through HVO, ONS members and other healthcare professionals can share their expertise, educate their colleagues, and learn about health care in LMICs. Research shows that nurses provide 80% of all health care in LMICs, so this is an important opportunity for ONS members and other nurses to volunteer and impact cancer care globally.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, annual worldwide cancer diagnoses are expected to rise from 14.1 million to 19.3 million by 2025 (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/international/statistics.htm). Additionally, 65% of all global cancer deaths occur in developing regions. Serving a critical role in the treatment of cancer, oncology nurses are often the first and last points of contact for patients. They’re responsible for administering essential medications, managing cancer-related symptoms, providing clear education to patients and family members, encouraging prevention and early detection methods, and acting as advocates on behalf of their patients. By providing resources, training, and education to oncology nurses in LMICs, ONS members can make a global impact and reduce the burden of cancer for local populations.

Beyond helping fellow oncology colleagues, this opportunity allows volunteers to learn and grow as international stakeholders in the global fight against cancer. Working in LMICs provides the chance to understand the differences in healthcare, resources, and culture that exist in cancer communities around the globe. This creates the opportunity for conversations and relationships to grow and thrive. HVO, in partnership with ONS, provides a safe, organized, innovative experience for oncology nurses to visit LMICs and impact global cancer care.

Many ONS members have traveled around the world (http://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/developing-oncology-partnerships-around-the-world) to impact on cancer care. As part of ONS’s vision to lead the transformation of cancer care, it will continue to provide members with new opportunities to offer their expertise in different countries across the globe.

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