A Deliberate Well-Being Plan Protects You From the Hazards of Your Work
Well-being is as much part of an oncology nurse’s personal protective equipment as gloves and gowns are, Lisa Blackburn, MS, APRN-CNS, PMGT-BC, AOCNS®, from The James at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a session during the ONS BridgeTM virtual conference on September 16, 2021. Just as a construction worker needs a hard hat, safety vest, and harness, oncology nurses need equipment to protect themselves from the hazards of their work, and “it’s more than manis, pedis, and massages,” Blackburn said.
Nursing Shortage Is a National Crisis, ANA Tells HHS
The nursing shortage has reached dire proportions and more needs to be done to ensure the United States has the nurses we need to care for the public, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Nurses Association (ANA) said in a September 2021 letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the agency to declare the shortage a national crisis and to take action against it.
Nursing Has a Long History of Racism. Now Is the Time to Overcome It.
Across the United States, White citizens are experiencing an awakening, recognizing the systematic racism that bleeds into every fabric of life, from housing and grocery shopping to education and earning an income, affecting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The nursing profession is part of that awakening, Marcus Henderson, MSN, RN, lecturer from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Family and Community Health, said as he kicked off the second-annual ONS BridgeTM virtual conference on September 9, 2021, with a keynote session addressing racism in nursing and how nurse leaders and staff can mitigate workplace discrimination.
It’s Okay to Put Yourself First Sometimes
Are you at—or well over—the brink of burnout? Do you feel like you give, give, give and cannot find the time to refill? Those are common feelings for nurses, whose profession is a service to humanity. Although our work is rewarding, it’s also physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Never feel guilty or judge yourself for stepping away and taking time for yourself—it’s essential to maintain the high level of care you provide every day.
Nursing Representation Is Critical in All Industries—Even Those Outside of Health Care
Nurses’ skills, experiences, leadership, and voices are more relevant than ever before, and more and more ONS members are sharing their knowledge and expertise beyond the bedside to improve health throughout the community.
Beyond the Bedside: Oncology Nurses Have Endless Opportunities in Unexpected Careers
As a nurse, you have a diverse arsenal of skills, from clinical competencies and leadership to problem-solving and interprofessional communication. That skillset easily transfers to a variety of careers outside of direct care.
Having a Mentor Helps You Achieve Oncology Nursing Certification
Oncology nurses have a responsibility to continually enhance their career and practice—for their patients, for their profession, and even for themselves. Two strategies for doing that are certification and mentorship. Combining the two is an even more powerful approach.
NINR Seeks Nursing Input for 2022–2026 Strategic Plan
Nursing science research must look at the whole picture of health, including health equity, social determinants of health, and the translation of science into policy and practice, the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) said in its approach to developing the 2022–2026 strategic plan.
National Library of Medicine Director Recognizes the Role of the Nurse During National Nursing Week
Nursing is a calling, but sometimes the profession takes nurses into careers that are an opportunity to serve others without direct patient care. In a recent blog post, Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Library of Medicine looked back at the roles she’s held. Brennan considered herself a “mother-daughter-sister-aunt-friend, and an advocate for self-care management education and support for all people.” But on top of it all, she is a nurse.
Strong Social Relationships Strengthen and Sustain You
Social distancing was never intended to be social isolation, but many of us have struggled to maintain relationships in today’s world. Human beings are built to be social, and science has shown that building strong, meaningful relationships can get us through tough times, provide physical and mental advantages, and make us happier. Perhaps a silver lining of the pandemic is a newfound appreciation for social connections with friends, colleagues, and community.
ONS Leader Recognized as 2021 Congressional Woman of the Year
ONS Director-at-Large Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN®, CENP, and executive director of City of Hope’s Clinical Network and Outreach Nursing Department in Duarte, CA, was among the 12 San Gabriel Valley, CA, women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to whom U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) dedicated the 2021 Congressional Woman of the Year award. The recipients were nominated for their extraordinary community service and leadership during the pandemic.
Research Findings Confirm Link Between Communication and Safety
My team’s current project to understand communication in ambulatory oncology settings stems from more than a decade of research (Kamimura et al.), in which we have tried to uncover the factors that facilitate high-quality cancer care for patients and a satisfying practice environment for care teams (Friese).
Career Changes Are Challenging, but Hold On to Hope
In nursing, we talk about progressing from novice to expert. I remember my feelings as a new nurse, of being overwhelmed by the many things that I didn’t know. Over time, I became comfortable in my growing knowledge. I developed skills, learned about diseases and treatments, and adapted to the politics of my particular unit and the people in it.
Mentors Changed My Career at Every Stage, From New Grad to Leader
Oncology nursing is an immensely rewarding calling, but the emotional burdens and stressors can feel overwhelming. Office politics, career changes, and providing end-of-life care are difficult to navigate alone, but partnering with mentors helps nurses work through challenges and grow as leaders. As I look back on my career accomplishments, I can’t deny the influence from several mentors sprinkled throughout that trajectory. Each one gifted me with the insight to develop specific skills that enhanced my practice.
Find Your Voice With ONS’s Leadership Development Committee
Dedication to their patients and each other and an innate passion unrivaled by most other professions are two of the reasons why oncology nurses make great leaders—I know that from my daily work with colleagues both near and far as well as my experience as part of ONS’s Leadership Development Committee.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Fast-Tracked Our Growth as Nurses
For the past 15 months, healthcare providers across the country risked their lives to care for those who needed us most. After spending more than a year at the forefront of a global health crisis, many of us, naturally, harbor feelings of stress and anxiety. Now that the world is returning to something resembling normal, we can pause, reflect, and observe how much we’ve all grown throughout this experience.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program Receives $200 Million Funding Increase
With the aging population of clinicians and patients, nursing is in desperate need of a stronger workforce. To advance nurses at all levels of practice, on February 9, 2021, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce announced its plan to increase funding for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program by $200 million through its section of the American Rescue Plan.
Evidence-Based Leadership Trends Show How Every Nurse Is a Leader
I believe that every nurse is a leader, and we need leaders in all areas of our profession, from academia and research to clinical practice. Nurses must lead from the future and reinvent themselves to achieve their desired career path. Practice in the now, but lead from anticipation of what will happen based on healthcare trends.
Nursing Leadership Has Space for You and Your Goals
When you picture a nurse leader, what do you see? The thought of being a leader or taking on a formal leadership role can seem intimidating for so many nurses. But age, citizenship status, ethnicity, or gender are strengths, not obstacles. Every nurse enters the profession with the foundation to be a successful leader.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Telehealth
Thrust into the mainstream in 2020, telehealth has transformed how patients with cancer receive some of their care, substituting certain traditional in-person office or clinic visits for phones, videos, and apps and devices that monitor patients’ health. It’s improved access to care in areas previously considered at risk for disparities: for example, patients in remote locations can be managed in an acute-care setting using television monitors, cameras, and call buttons to contact specialists.
A Free Lunch Doesn’t Exist: How I Became an ONS Health Policy Advocate
For a long time, like so many other nurses, I thought of myself as the “regular kind” of advocate for my patients, speaking out for their needs on an individual basis at the institutional level while supporting them as they navigate a cancer diagnosis. But I’ve more recently discovered an even more empowering role: I’m now a health policy advocate.
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.
Onboarding and Supporting New Providers Are Your Responsibilities as an APRN Leader
Contributing to the orientation and onboarding of new advanced practice RN (APRN) providers supports optimal patient outcomes, professional satisfaction, and nurse retention. Orientation involves working through the hospital’s training program, policies and procedures, organizational structures, and mission or vision statements, whereas onboarding builds engagement and relationships in the organization over many weeks to months. Some institutions have formalized, detailed processes for orientation and onboarding, but others may offer very little structure and support.
New Guidelines in Cancer Care
Guidelines give oncology nurses an evidence-based, standardized approach to cancer care. But guidelines are most effective used when they’re used as a regular part of practice—a process referred to as implementation.
With several oncology societies releasing new guidelines in 2020 and 2021, including ONS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the implementation process requires nurse managers and leaders to facilitate staff education, maintain a high quality of care, and answer the all-important question: “Why are we doing this?”
ANA: Nurses Should Remember the Importance of Self-Care
Nurses are selfless caregivers. However, compared to the average American, they are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress, and get less than the recommended hours of sleep. Long shifts and work hazards only exacerbate nurses’ propensity for those factors. In response, the American Nurses Association (ANA) is raising awareness for nurses to think about themselves.
Empower Recent Graduate Nurses to Be Patient Advocates
Most nurses can attest to the immense personal and professional growth that takes place during the first year of their nursing practice. When I graduated in May 2019, I began working on a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) unit. The BMT process is long and intensive, but it provides opportunities to develop strong connections with our patients. We often care for the same patient for multiple weeks or months and then again a year or two later if they experience longer-term complications. As a newly minted nurse, I had a lot to learn about my specialty and about nursing in general, but my fresh perspective made learning exciting.
Don’t Get Trapped in the Pitfalls of Perfectionism
Having high expectations can motivate you to achieve your very best. In the extreme, however, aiming for perfection can be dangerous to your mental health. In a 2015 TED Talk, self-proclaimed perfectionist Petra Kolber passionately revealed that despite being at the top in her field in the fitness industry, she felt her best was never good enough and she lived a joyless life.
Shared Governance Committees Empower Nurses to Use Their Voice
Oncology nursing awakens a sense of purpose that drives us to be true patient advocates. As chair of my institution’s shared governance committee, I have found that being conduits for our patients empowers nurses to find solutions that take care to the next level. It’s driven me to find better outcomes, care, and treatment for my patients simply because their health is important to me. I am at the bedside for my patients’ entire cancer journey.
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.
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.
Am I Too Shy to Lead?
Imagine this: You are working toward a leadership position and have all the necessary qualifications and experience, but you are also shy. You’re in a brainstorming meeting with your department and have an idea that would solve the problem, but it’s totally different than what has been proposed so far. Do you speak up or stay quiet? Do you even have a chance at that leadership position if you are too shy to share your idea?
How to Accept Criticism With Class
Quick: what’s your first reaction when you hear the word criticism? Do you brace yourself for feelings of failure and put up a defensive wall? It’s hard to respond otherwise, but try to look at it differently. Criticism can be positive if we accept it with class and let it help us gain knowledge about ourselves.
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.
How Enhancing Your Career Benefits Both Your Patients and Yourself
Caring for patients with cancer is a complex subspecialty of nursing. In most of their day-to-day work, oncology nurses function independently and require time management, communication, and prioritization skills in addition to extensive clinical knowledge and expertise.
Health Care Reunites a Divided Nation
The November 2020 presidential election saw a historic turnout at the polls. Before election day, more than 99 million of the 240 million registered American voters had already cast their ballots, and some predicted that as many as 155 million voters would exercise their constitutional franchise to make their voices heard, a record 65% of the electorate. The distinct differences between the two major presidential candidates indicated that people were engaged and took to heart the grand idea of participatory democracy.
How to Establish a More Compassionate Workplace
A career of more than 40 years provides experiences and insight that can help nurses prioritize self-care, be more resilient, and stay positive during stressful times. During an on-demand session for the inaugural ONS BridgeTM virtual conference in October 2020, Susan Childress, MN, RN, former director of nursing at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) in Salt Lake City, UT, and recipient of the 2020 Mara Mogensen Flaherty Memorial Lectureship, offered advice for oncology nurses in maintaining compassionate care and resiliency in practice.
Intuitive Eating Creates Healthy Food Rituals
Food connects us to other cultures, helps us celebrate life’s milestones, and nourishes our body. We spend hours of our day planning meals, cooking, and eating. With food at the center of our lives, a positive view of it promotes health and well-being, but many of us struggle with eating behaviors and weight management throughout our lifetime.
Nurse Legislator’s Healthcare Affordability Act Included in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act
Legislation aimed at reducing health care insurance premiums, introduced by U.S. Representative Lauren A. Underwood (D-IL), is included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act.
Nurses Can Access $85.3 Million of HHS Workforce Funding Awards
Up to $85.3 million of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) $107.2 million is earmarked for nurses. The agency bestowed the awards in June 2020 to 310 recipients across 45 states and U.S. territories to increase the healthcare workforce in rural and underserved communities.
Achieving Diversity and Inclusion in Nursing Requires a Closer Look at the Profession’s Structure
Does lack of inclusion in areas that are important to us affect how we see ourselves overall? Can someone amplify their voice without being represented in an authority position? Should leadership reflect the population that it’s leading? More and more medical organizations are publishing formal and informal position statements on diversity and inclusion, which is a great start, but the next logical step is bringing those beliefs and concepts to our institutions and communities. Here are some of the issues and the ways that any nurse can take action.
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.
100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage Reminds Us of the Power of Our Vote
The revolutionary declaration written 244 years ago, proclaiming that “all men are created equal,” maintains that a true democracy must be based on an individual’s right to vote and the freedom to exercise that power at the ballot box. Since 1998, women voters have embodied that concept, achieving a majority vote with higher rates than men. Of registered women voters, 55% went to the polls in 2018, compared to only 51% of registered men. Yet today women account for only 23.2% of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 26% of the U.S. Senate.
Nurses Have the Purpose, Power, and Passion to Make a Difference
As we enter the final few months of 2020, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, I find myself thinking about the theme that we had for our 45th Annual ONS CongressTM: Purpose, Power, Passion. WHO’s intent in designating the year was to elevate nursing globally and showcase the many roles that nurses have in health care. In the United States, Gallop surveys consistently rank nurses as the most trusted profession, but our colleagues in other countries do not have a similar means of recognition.
Billing and Coding Breakdown Helps Nurses Recognize the Realities of Reimbursement
Understanding correct coding strategies is an important skill that affects billing and reimbursement for value-based cancer care. Meeting the requirements for complete and accurate documentation is critical to support healthcare claims. Both nurses and advanced practice providers have responsibilities in this work.
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.
Innovative Programs Help Institution Grow Its Own Nursing Workforce
Nursing shortages and high rates of turnover are documented problems that negatively affect patient care and institutional costs. During a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference, Christopher Brooks, MS, RN, CENP, AOCNS®, director of nursing professional development and education at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, outlined philosophies and programs his institution uses to recruit and retain its nursing workforce.
Nurse Innovators Develop Processes to Combat Common Oncologic Emergencies
Oncologic emergencies require prompt intervention to achieve the best outcomes. During a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference, oncology nurse innovators described their projects to develop standard protocols to manage two common oncologic emergencies: hypersensitivity reactions to rituximab and febrile neutropenia.
The Case of the Delicate Discussion
Over the past three years, Sharon, age 38, has been intermittently receiving treatment for ovarian cancer. She was initially treated with carboplatin and paclitaxel and remained in remission for 20 months. She responded well to second-line therapy (carboplatin, gemcitabine, and bevacizumab), remaining on bevacizumab maintenance until she experienced a relapse eight months later.
Oncology Nurses Break the Silence on Workplace Bullying and Incivility
Bullying behaviors remain prevalent in nursing, resulting in turnover, poor work performance, and emotional trauma. During a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference, Terri Townsend, MA, RN, CCRN-CMC, CMSRN, of Community Hospital Anderson, and Pamela Anderson, MSN, RN, CCRN, ANP-BC, of St. Vincent Medical Group, shed light on how to eliminate this pervasive issue.
Professional Development Increases Nurse Satisfaction, Reduces Turnover
Retaining a qualified nurse workforce is a constant and costly challenge for healthcare organizations. An on-demand session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference reviewed strategies two institutions used to address the issue.