Advocacy Can Make a Difference
By Diane Barber, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, AOCNP®, Director-at-Large
As part of its mission, ONS honors and maintains nursing’s historical and essential commitment to advocacy for the public good.
Working collaboratively with policymakers, cancer and nursing community advocates, and other stakeholders at the local, state, federal, and international levels, ONS seeks to integrate the nursing perspective throughout the policymaking process and urges that oncology nurses be appointed to all relevant federal panels, committees, commissions, and boards. During its September conference call, the ONS Board of Directors focused on two key areas of ONS advocacy.
Political and Economic Advocacy
Board members discussed their experiences during our second annual Hill Day on September 7, 2017, in Washington, DC, where more than 100 oncology nurses from several states gathered as one voice to advocate for our patients, their caregivers, and our profession. Board members met with their individual members of Congress or their staffers to discuss three key “asks”:
- Cosponsor the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act
- Cosponsor Oral Cancer Drug Parity HR 1409
- Ensure federal appropriations for the National Institute of Nursing Research
Additionally, Board members discussed the importance of building relationships with their members of Congress as well as other nurse advocates.
Social Systems Advocacy
This component of advocacy is internal within ONS and involves creating positive change in an organization’s policies, rules, or laws. During the September conference call, board members discussed and approved an ONS board president selection process document as part of implementing the new ONS bylaws for governance. This document provides clear and concise guidelines on the process of the board electing the next ONS president from within its ranks. In addition, the document serves as a template for the ONS secretary and treasurer election process and highlights the board’s goal of transparency.
As an individual oncology nurse, your voice and your advocacy can make a difference; however, as a group of oncology nurses, your voices and your advocacy can change a law or policy. Learn more about ONS’s advocacy work and how you can get involved (http://www.ons.org/advocacy-policy).