(June 28, 2018)—Chemotherapy agents, along with many other hazardous drugs, have been used to attack cancer cells for decades, saving or extending the lives of millions of patients with cancer. However, the unique chemical combinations comprising many of the agents used to fight cancer are potentially dangerous to the healthcare professionals who handle and administer them. To ensure the well-being and safety of healthcare providers and patients, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) developed the Toolkit for Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs for Nurses in Oncology.
Created by ONS staff and expert members, the toolkit serves as a quick reference guide for oncology nurses, detailing the important information necessary to safely handle hazardous drugs in practice while also being an advocate for safety in the workplace. With new safe-handling procedures from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) on the horizon, clinicians need to be ready for incoming practice changes while also ensuring the safest environment for their patients. Kris LeFebvre, MSN, RN, AOCN®, oncology clinical specialist at ONS and ONS member AnnMarie Walton PhD, MPH, RN, OCN, CHES, Assistant Professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, led the team as they developed pertinent information for the toolkit.
“The toolkit serves as a quick and easy resource on safe handling. As centers prepare for USP <800>, ONS is creating a variety of resources that oncology nurses can use in practice and share with colleagues,” LeFebvre said. “As nurses share the toolkit with their coworkers, we hope it sparks discussion about areas where they may want or need to change practice. The toolkit provides this in a quick-reference format, and it supports the work of our publication, Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs.”
The toolkit is available for free online at ONS.org. Nurses and providers can download and share the document with colleagues, supervisors, administrators, and throughout their institutions. As part of an ongoing commitment to protect healthcare professionals—as well as patients with cancer—ONS provides this and other resources to ensure that potentially dangerous drugs are handled safely and responsibly.
ONS is a professional association of more than 39,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.