Nurse Appointed as Acting U.S. Surgeon General
Three nurses serve in the U.S. Congress, and the profession briefly added one more federal representation at the agency level as well. President Joe Biden appointed Rear Admiral Susan Orsega, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, a nurse practitioner, as acting surgeon general while Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBH, who served as former president Barack Obama’s surgeon general, was waiting for Senate confirmation. The position is often referred to as the “nation’s doctor,” although Orsega was the third nurse to hold the title before Murthy assumed his current post.
Surveys Show PPE Is Still in Short Supply
A perhaps unexpected phenomenon the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic created around the world was countless supply shortages. Most at worst were inconvenient (e.g., yeast shortages from pandemic breadmaking) or humorous (e.g., toilet paper memes), but one that oncology nurses experienced far too close to home was downright deadly: lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies for handling hazardous drugs.
Biden-Harris Administration Invests $10 Billion to Address Disparities in Vaccine Confidence and Distribution
The Biden-Harris administration to strengthen public perception of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines and ensure all Americans, including communities of color, those in rural areas, low-income populations, and other underserved communities in the pandemic response, receive their vaccinations.
NCCN Dr. Steven Pergam Educates Patients With Cancer on COVID-19
Steven Pergam, MD, MPH, associate professor of the vaccine and infectious disease division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, and infection prevention director at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, co-led a National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) committee that issued recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination for patients with cancer. He received his first Moderna dose on December 29, 2020, and has been dispelling fear and spreading education about the vaccine.
How Public Health Can Stop the Pandemic (Hint: It’s COVID-19 Vaccination)
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it. The mortality rate is devasting, the economic impact is jarring, and no one can pinpoint any date for its end. But new vaccines offer a glimmer of hope—but only if the country can settle discussions about achieving adequate vaccination coverage and strategies to distribute and inoculate hundreds of millions of people.
ANA Launches Nurse-Specific COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign
Nurses are a trusted resource for patient education and offer clarity during a crisis, whether it’s a cancer diagnosis or global pandemic. However, in a survey from the American Nurses Association (ANA), 30% of nurses said they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, and a quarter of that percentage was still undecided about getting vaccinated. The two main reported reasons were fear of short- and long-term side effects (66%) and lack of information about the vaccines (50%). ANA’s new campaign educates nurses about those concerns.
U.S. Reps Introduce Bill to Support Frontline Workers and Families
More nurses are diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus than healthcare providers in any other discipline. Despite that sober statistic, very few congressional committees’ COVID-19 legislation proposals support essential workers like nurses. U.S. Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Joe Neguse (D-CO) introduced a bill to address those concerns.
U.S. Rep. Underwood, RN, Highlights Health Priorities in Open Letter to Biden
After a contentious election season, U.S. Representative Lauren A. Underwood, RN, (D-IL) returned to Capitol Hill as a new subcommittee chair and the same drive to push forward on healthcare issues, most recently with an open letter to President Joe Biden.
CDC Campaign Fights Declining Cancer Screening Rates
Nearly 1.9 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. However, overall cancer screenings dropped roughly 80% in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and statewide stay-at-home orders. To combat the decline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) new outreach campaign reminds patients and providers of the importance of cancer screening.
Nurses Help NIH Clinical Center Kick Off COVID-19 Vaccinations
Is anyone a better champion of the importance of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic than a nurse? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) doesn’t think so. During a late-December videocast at the NIH Clinical Center, prominent healthcare leaders, including nurses, received the Moderna vaccine to demonstrate that it is safe and effective and to encourage others to get inoculated.
COVID-19 Immunity Lasts Multiple Months, NIH Study Shows
Healthcare providers are one of the most at-risk populations for contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, a 2020 study of healthcare workers found that acquired immunity from an initial COVID-19 infection offers protection against reinfection for at least six months or asymptomatic infection in the rare instances where someone subsequently tested positive within six months of acquiring immunity.
Be Alert for Axillary Adenopathy After COVID-19 Vaccination
Nearly 60 million people in the United States and almost 200 million around the world have received the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as of mid-February 2021, and the numbers will continue to grow as more doses come to market and other manufacturers’ versions receive emergency use authorizations. As more people get vaccinated, some of the expected side effects are being observed in clinical practice and have implications for cancer care.
COVID-19 Affects Cancer Caregivers, but Here Are Ways to Support Them
Cancer caregivers are silent and sometimes forgotten victims of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Its impact on patients with cancer and healthcare providers is widely discussed, but it also affects caregiver responsibilities and burden.
COVID-19’s Implications for People With Cancer and Oncology Nurses
Since the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 coronavirus—the greatest global public health emergency in a century—has disrupted or delayed many aspects of life, including cancer care. But it’s also opened new opportunities for nursing innovation and brought much-needed change to health care. Here’s where we are one year later.
Nurses Exemplify Pandemic Response and Preparedness Report
A nurse was the first U.S. citizen to receive the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine. Biden also recently appointed a nurse to the COVID-19 advisory board. Clearly the country recognizes nurses’ consistent power and trustworthiness, and nurses can use that power to educate the public about the Biden administration’s tactics to get vaccines to the rest of the country and control the spread.
How to Manage Survivor Guilt During a Pandemic
Pandemics have a tremendous impact on societies and individuals alike. From incidence rates to death tolls, financial hardship to job loss, and anxiety to isolation, we’ve all been affected in one way or another—although some much more than others.
Lawmakers Push for Permanent Telehealth Services
In a rare moment of bicameral success, 49 U.S. House of Representatives and Senate members introduced legislation to make permanent the Medicare telehealth coverage that had been introduced as a temporary measure during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
How Can Oncology Nurses Reduce Isolation for Caregivers?
Social connection with others is widely considered a fundamental human need, crucial to well-being and survival. A growing body of literature is evaluating cancer caregivers’ needs, yet strategies to address loneliness, which has broadly detrimental effects on caregivers, are still in their infancy. Therefore, my goal is to identify better support strategies for caregivers as they support their loved ones with cancer.
Pandemics Have Serious Psychological Implications for Nurses
Watching patients—or even colleagues—suffer or die, not being able to protect yourself with the right personal protective equipment, worry about exposing loved ones, and the challenge of balancing it all contribute to an immeasurable psychological burden for nurses and other healthcare professionals during a pandemic. Studies show that the effects are serious, leading to post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and, in some cases, suicide among providers.
President Biden Rejoins WHO in Support of Pandemic Efforts and Cancer Prevention
One of President Joe Biden’s first executive orders was rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO). He also signed executive orders to require masks on all federal grounds and asked agencies to extend moratoriums on evictions and federal student loan payments, but the WHO executive order has particular implications for cancer care.
Should Patients With Cancer Receive COVID-19 Vaccines? Here’s What Oncology Nurses Need to Know
Patients with cancer who are infected with COVID-19 coronavirus have an overall 21.2% increased mortality rate, compared to 8.7% for those without cancer—and for those with a smoking history, mortality increases to 31.1%. With statistics like those, should patients with cancer get COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible?
CDC Offers Infection Prevention Guidelines for Patients With Cancer During COVID-19
Immunocompromised patients with cancer are three times more likely to die from complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus. New resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide ideas for preventing infections like COVID-19 in patients with cancer.
Biden Appoints Nurse to COVID-19 Advisory Board
Shortly after declaring victory in the 2020 president election, the Biden-Harris transition team created a bipartisan COVID-19 advisory board. Staffed by experts, the board was hailed as a science-driven committee eager to flatten the curve. However, it had one downfall: it lacked a nurse. In response to a viral petition for nurse representation, the transition team appointed Seattle, WA, nurse Jane Hopkins, RNMH, to the advisory board on November 28, 2020.
How COVID-19 May Increase Access to and Reduce Disparities in Cancer Clinical Trials
To improve clinical trial availability, effectiveness, and diversity in the era of the COVID-19 coronavirus, National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trials should adjust their design to increase use of telemedicine and remote informed consent, among other strategies, several NCI department leaders wrote in a commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Superhero Nurses Shine in Marvel Comic Book
Wonder Woman, Superman, the Flash! Characters like those have superpowers and save people, but they are limited by fiction. Nurses are real people doing superhuman achievements every day, often with little recognition. To pay homage to the most trusted profession, Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA, partnered with Marvel to produce a comic book worthy of real heroes. The Vitals: True Nurse Stories (2020), includes three stories based on personal accounts from the children of nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
NIH Announces COVID-19 Initiative to Connect With High-Risk Patient Populations
The assault on science, medicine, and research has never been stronger, flooding social media and communities with misinformation about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s new research initiative, the Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities, provides community education in the areas hit hardest by the virus.
COVID-19 Reference Sheet: Vaccines
To control the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we need public health measures (e.g., masks, physical distancing, hand washing), treatments for infection, and vaccines to prevent infection or serious disease. In 2020, several manufacturers developed COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year. Before that, the fastest a vaccine had been developed was in four years.
FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for First COVID-19 Vaccine
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for a vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 coronavirus caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in the United States.
AMA, AHA, ANA Send Trump Administration Letter Encouraging Transition
The Biden transition team needs full cooperation and all critical information regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus, he American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA) and American Nurses Association (ANA) said in a November 2020 letter to the Trump administration.
FDA Offers Guidance to Enhance Diversity in Clinical Trials
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to smother the United States, and nationwide efforts to flatten the curve aren’t lowering cases or preventing deaths. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, an oncologist by training and profession, addressed the actions needed to combat COVID-19. One in particular is ensuring that clinical trials accurately reflect diverse populations.
Nurses Account for Largest Group of Healthcare Providers With COVID-19 Infections
Nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are at greater risk of infection than other clinicians, according to the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Nurse-related occupations, including nurses and certified nursing assistants, represent the largest proportion (36%) of healthcare providers hospitalized with COVID-19. The national survey brought to light what many nurses may have already known: nursing as a profession bears the brunt of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Drug Reference Sheet: Bamlanivimab
On November 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for bamlanivimab, an unapproved agent, to treat mild to moderate cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. EUAs are not FDA approval. Bamlanivimab’s initial supply is limited, but the manufacturer announced increased production and distribution in early 2021.
Protect Patients With Cancer During Flu Season With Recommended Vaccinations
Patients with cancer are at increased risk for complications from the common flu. Plus, ensuring they receive recommended influenza vaccinations will reduce flu-related healthcare demands and decrease stress on the United States’ healthcare system, which is crucial as the nation approaches 10 million COVID-19 coronavirus cases. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn’t waiting until National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 6–12, 2020, to promote vaccinations to high-risk populations.
Kansas ONS Chapters Advocate for Health Policy With Federal and State Leaders
Over the summer, I coordinated a now all-too-familiar exercise: a Zoom call with multiple ONS Kansas-area chapter members, nurse experts, patient advocates, and elected officials. Spearheaded by the ONS National Office, we hosted an incredibly personal and informative conversation to discuss the COVID-19 coronavirus, how it affects patients with cancer, and the legislative and regulatory environment throughout our state. Our bipartisan, multitiered event brought together oncology nurses from across the state, and, although some political views were different, we united in our commitment to nurses and public health.
Cures 2.0 Act Would Expand on the Successes of 21st Century Cures Legislation
Building on the success of the 21st Century Cures Act passed in 2016, U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) have begun work on the follow-up Cures 2.0 Act, intended to “safely and efficiently modernize the delivery of health care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” the representatives said in a press release.
Nursing Is Science First; It Just Appears Heroic
Science, our reliance on the foundations of epidemiology, and management of a public health crisis have been unprecedented discussion topics this year. We have never had a greater need to rely on data, science, and the evolving understanding of experts about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how to contend with it.
CMS Proposes Amendments to Telehealth, Preventive Care, and Staffing Concerns Amid COVID-19
During a global pandemic that requires social distancing, telehealth has suddenly become routine. Seeing an opportunity, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is breaking down barriers, enhancing patient-centered care, and bolstering the healthcare workforce with a series of regulations, with telehealth topping the list.
HHS Responds to Drop in Pediatric Vaccines Because of Stay-at-Home Orders
As families follow public health recommendations to stay at home, many have missed routine vaccinations. In response to lower vaccination rates, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act to encourage vaccinations and safeguard children at risk for life-threatening diseases.
Use the Nursing Process to Create a Self-Care Plan
Current events have given us an opportunity, and sometimes even a necessity, to rethink our well-being approaches. But developing a self-care plan doesn’t have to be overwhelming when you use a familiar method like the American Nurses Association’s nursing process.
Position Statements and Response Team Support Therapies and Research During Pandemic
Supporting oncology nurses in administering cancer treatments and nurse scientists in conducting research during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic were priority topics for the ONS Board of Directors’ August 25, 2020, meeting by conference call. After approving its board goals for 2020–2021, the ONS Board made the following decisions that you should be aware of as an ONS member and practicing oncology nurse.
Nurses Have a Critical Role in Responding to COVID-19, NAM Says
Nursing’s role in health equity, public health emergencies, and COVID-19 is a critical issue for updates to its Future of Nursing 2020–2030 report study, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) said during a webinar on August 20, 2020, that sought public input on nurses’ roles in responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
How Will You Define Your New Normal?
The phrase “a new normal” is used in the oncology setting to describe the changes a person faces as a result of cancer and its treatments. Physical and emotional scars plus activity limitations are examples of adjustments cancer survivors make as they define what will be their new normal. But in today’s media, the new normal is being used to label the changes the world’s population is facing as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Public Trusts Nurses’ Voices During Health Emergencies
The cacophony that echoes through the 24-hour news cycle can be heavy on an average day but overwhelming during a global health pandemic. That is why relying on a trusted voice is essential when attempting to understand how to deal with the voluminous information that bombards us through radio, television, emails, social media, and any other channels that deem themselves news outlets these days.
Learning in the Face of Adversity: Nurse Residency and COVID-19
Today’s new normal has changed everything at home, from what we wear to how we teach our children—and in the oncology nursing workplace, from new precautions to the rise of telehealth. It’s also affected nurse residency programs, but one institution has thrived as it adjusted.
Pandemic Advocacy; PPE Shortage List; Nurse Uncovers Data Error
Nurses are experts in advocating for their patients’ care. Taking those skills to Washington, DC, and speaking out for changes in federal health policy can have just as much impact. Even in an era of social distancing and travel restrictions, oncology nurses can bring their message to the local, state, and federal leaders to bring about change.
Did COVID-19 Transform Traditional American Politics?
Mastering the rules and regulations of democracy has been a capital city—both federal and state—game of power for more than 200 years. Those written, and too often presumed, procedures govern the process and provide a roadmap for legislators to strategize on how best to advance their agendas and campaign promises.
Provider Groups Announce Campaign Urging Public to #WearAMask
Wearing a mask is critical to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but the public hasn’t always been compliant. In an effort to provide education and understanding, the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, and American Hospital Association joined forces to promote a new public health awareness campaign.
FDA Study Reveals Higher COVID-19 Death Rate for Patients With Cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Oncology Center of Excellence confirmed that those with immunocompromised systems, including cancer, are at greater risk for serious outcomes or death after contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus.
How Can ONS Support Members in Today’s Practice Changes?
In response to public health concerns from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. government, healthcare institutions, and payors rapidly developed new policies and procedures to address the changing landscape.