Through contributions in the field, oncology nurses are driving the quality of cancer care forward, improving patient outcomes and enhancing quality of life and access to care. Whether they’re changing practice through innovation, research, excellence, or leadership, ONS members are making a big difference in practices across the country—and several have recently been recognized for their achievements in oncology nursing.

Ada Sue Hinshaw Award

The Ada Sue Hinshaw Award, named after the first permanent director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), is presented by Friends of the NINR (FNINR) to recognize an oncology nurse scientist who has shown sustained, substantive progress in her or his program of science.

On October 4, 2017, the FNINR recognized ONS member Barbara Given, PhD, RN, FAAN, as the 2017 Ada Sue Hinshaw Award recipient. Hinshaw’s career spans more than 35 years in nursing research. Working alongside the National Institutes of Health, her peer-reviewed research has mainly focused on symptom management, supportive care, and family caregivers. Through Hinshaw’s contributions to nursing science, professional support for family home care is now considered an integral and important component of caring for patients with cancer.

Living Legends

Each year, the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) recognizes exemplary nurses who have made lasting contributions in health care. These “Living Legends” serve as model nurses, making a difference to the patients for whom they care and the communities in which they work.

ONS cofounder, former president, and current member, Connie Henke Yarbro, MS, RN, FAAN, was named to the 2017 class of AAN Living Legends on October 5, 2017. For more than 45 years, Yarbro has been a leader in oncology nursing and the healthcare profession. In 1972, she helped create the first physician and nurse practitioner care model for patients with cancer at the University of Alabama Birmingham, helping to define the role of oncology nurses. She has worked nationally and internationally as leader in oncology nurses. Yarbro has published and edited for different cancer care resources, and much of her work has focused on issues in symptom management, pain management, and quality of life for patients with cancer.

Edge Runners

AAN also identified 11 nurses as “Edge Runners” at its policy conference in Washington, DC, on October 6, 2017. AAN Edge Runners are innovative nurses who have designed new care models to improve health, impact health policy, and lower healthcare costs. These nurses have been recognized for the ability to think outside of the box to implement new strategies that can improve clinical and financial outcomes.

ONS members Linda Sarna, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Stella Aguinaga Bialous, PhD, RN, FAAN, were both recognized for their Tobacco Free Nurses program. This initiative provides tobacco cessation education to help nurses and clinicians quit, while also providing useful resources for them to share with patients. Through their program, Sarna and Bialous aim to curb smoking habits within the nursing community and among patient populations to help reduce cancer risks and improve outcomes.

Ellen L. Stovall Award

The Ellen L. Stovall award was created in honor of the former chief executive officer of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivors who died in 2016 from complications of her cancer treatments. Stovall, a cancer survivor for more than 40 years, was a staunch advocate for patient-centered cancer care. The award is given to individuals, organizations, or other entities that have played an integral role in improving care for patients with cancer.

ONS member Pat Coyne, RN, MSN, will be recognized as one of two 2017 honorees at the Ellen L. Stovall Award reception on October 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Coyne’s career has been devoted to advancing palliative care for patients with cancer. As a cofounder of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), Coyne has worked nationally and internationally to spread pallative and end-of-life education to more than 21,000 nurses in 90 different countries.  

National Academy of Medicine Elects New Members

On October 17, 2017, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced the addition of 80 new members to the organization, including ONS member Deborah Watkins Bruner, RN, PhD. The professionals elected to join NAM are recognized for their contributions and dedication to health and health care through the United States, as well as internationally.

Bruner, a professor of radiology oncology at Emory University, has dedicated much of her career and research to patient-reported outcomes, symptom management, and the impact of radiology on patient sexuality and physical state. Her work is well-recognized, and she’s been featured in numerous publications, including the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and the Oncology Nursing Forum.

Protégé Award

The 2017 Protégé Award is presented by FNINR to recognize promising nurse scientists who are within their first 10 years of completing a PhD or post-doctoral study.

FNINR has designated former ONS member Canhua Xiao, PhD, RN, as 2017’s Protégé Award winner for her excellence in nursing science. Xiao’s work is focused on understanding symptom clusters and the mechanisms of fatigue in patients with cancer—specifically those with head and neck cancers. She’s received funding for her work through the National Institutes of Health/NINR Career Development Award, she’s the past recipient of the ONS Foundation Endowment Nursing Research Grant, and was the ONS Victoria Mock New Investigator Award winner for 2016.

Driving Change and Evolution in Oncology Nursing

ONS’s many members have reached numerous achievements over its more than 40-year history. Oncology nurses continue to drive the evolution of cancer care forward. The advancements in patient-centered cancer care wouldn’t be possible without the invaluable work of these nurses—and many others just like them.