Whether being called on to inform the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, develop novel resources for patients with prostate cancer, or create programs for smoking cessation, nurse scientists are continually advancing patient-centered oncology care. Nurse researcher contributions have led to improved patient outcomes, better symptom management interventions, and overall quality of care. As part of its commitment to future nursing research, ONS created a new scholar-in-residence position to drive and inform the Society’s research agenda and highlight the integral work of ONS member nurse scientists who are moving the needle for patients with cancer.
ONS member and first scholar-in-residence, Mary Cooley, PhD, RN, FAAN, brings more than 30 years of oncology nursing research experience to the role. The part-time position allows Cooley to continue her work as a nurse scientist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.
“My main goal as ONS’s scholar-in-residence is to increase the visibility and influence of oncology nurse scientists as champions of improving quality cancer care,” Cooley says. “In the next year, our aim will be to develop a research advisory panel to provide counsel and direction, and we’ll be putting together workgroups to help us define and identify highly targeted research priorities for ONS. By securing resources and facilitating communication, the Society wants to be a more effective home for oncology nurse scientists, enabling them to conduct high-quality research for patients with cancer.”
Connecting With ONS Members
As part of her role, Cooley will draw on ONS members’ expertise and experience to better assess the needs of the research community. Through member think tanks, workgroups, online communities, and ONS’s annual Congress, Cooley will engage members in the research discussion to make the Society a home for oncology nurse scientists.
“At Congress in May 2018, I will be connecting with members to help us shape the vision of research moving forward,” Cooley notes. “It’s important for us to engage and activate members, so we can understand what their research priorities are and how ONS can meet their needs from a research perspective. Our conversations will welcome all—novice and advanced researchers—to begin the discussion.”
Creating the Next Generation of Nurse Scientists
Growing interest and excitement around nursing research is another component of the scholar-in-residence role, Cooley says. She recalls discovering her own love for research through ONS Congress and the nurse scientists who came before her.
“We’re looking to build enthusiasm among ONS membership,” Cooley says. “That’s how I got into research—through the work of ONS members like Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Linda Sarna, PhD, RN, FAAN. We’re looking to foster that mentorship and interest in nursing research, and we’re looking to highlight the science of our veteran members to pull from their experiences.”
During her three-year tenure as scholar-in-residence, Cooley will engender a new generation of nurse scientists who can find a professional home in ONS, engage the research community, and bring together like-minded professionals into a cohesive group with one voice that informs the future of oncology nursing research.