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.
PTSD Is More Common Among Nurses Than You May Realize
Almost 96% of nurses report experiencing at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and nearly 21% meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, according to findings from a literature review published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
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.
Bedside Nurses Bring Value to Ethical Consults
Oncology nursing is a complex world that continues to evolve rapidly. However, one challenge that remains consistent is the ethical dilemmas nurses face when caring for patients with cancer. Complex care needs and lengthy hospital stays are common in our patient population and allow opportunity for nurses to develop relationships with patients and their families. Over the course of treatment, various ethical issues may arise, which nurses are at the forefront of identifying and acting on.
If You’re Trying to Be Productive, Stop Multitasking
When it comes to the human brain, the ability to effectively multitask is a myth. Although computers can run two or more programs simultaneously, our brains must task-switch, and in the transfer of attention, time and productivity are lost. Monotasking, or single tasking, is now considered a way to increase productivity and actually maximize time.
Insufficient PPE; COVID-19 and Cancer Mortality Rates; Nurses of Color
Nurses have been advocating for increased personal protective equipment (PPE) long before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Last year two clinicians published a book that reported on their five years of research into trauma in nurses. Their findings showed that lack of PPE, along with a multitude of other factors, led to a variety of traumas in nurses, all of which has been ignored for decades.
Care Delivery Models Guide Cancer Practice During COVID-19
Healthcare institutions have used care delivery models to guide practice for years. A care delivery model provides a structured system for work assignments, responsibilities, and authority to provide optimal patient care.
Nurses in Media; COVID-19 Scope of Practice
The media fails to represent nurses as leaders in health care. Only 2% of health articles included nurses as sources, Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, and colleagues reported in a 2017 study. In a June 26, 2020, opinion piece published in USA Today, Mason called on universities and medical institutes to offer more nurses as sources for journalists, rather than just physicians.
Don’t Let Barriers Prevent You From Continuing Your Nursing Education
New nurses are a lot like new drivers: they know just enough to pass the test but lack the experience to influence critical decisions. Those who understand the importance of continuing education in various formats have an advantage in today’s competitive job market.
Racism and COVID-19; Nurses in Politics; Combat Social Determinants
A multitude of factors influenced by institutional inequality, such as underlying health conditions and employment opportunities, are to blame for the COVID-19 coronavirus’s disproportional effects on African Americans, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. His remarks were part of a June 23, 2020, testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Nurses Have a Role and Responsibility in Ending Racism
“There’s no way you can extricate what’s been going on and the outcomes of the (COVID-19 coronavirus) from the basic racism and social injustice and inequities that have existed in this country for so many years,” American Academy of Nursing Living Legend Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN, said in a June 17, 2020, podcast. “The chronicity of racism is the issue.”
How to Practice Self-Care During Times of Uncertainty
Uncertainty prevails in times of crisis. Patients with cancer are all too familiar with the initial uncertainty surrounding a cancer diagnosis, treatments, and adjusting to a new normal. Oncology nurses are seeing parallels with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as people worldwide face the unknowns of a health threat and the economic aftermath of the outbreak. Medical caregivers are confronting it head on as they work together to protect and tend to the physical and psychosocial needs of others.
Oncology Nurses Have a Special Power of Presence
Like most nurses, my shifts as a new nurse functioned as consistently as clockwork. I would begin my afternoon shift by reviewing the assignment list. The previous shift’s nurses would handoff the patients, and I would head out to the unit to report to my assistive personnel and review the patients’ medication administration records. Every hour was dedicated to a different task, including my dinner break. That is, until a monumental moment jostled me from my systematic routine.
ONS Virtual Conference Bridges the Gap Between Education and Practice Change
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced oncology nurses to navigate abnormal circumstances, both at home and at work. Despite facing similar limitations, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) created a brand-new learning experience to give oncology nurses expert education, networking opportunities, and access to industry representatives in the wake of canceled in-person events. This September, ONS will host the inaugural ONS Bridge™, the most comprehensive conference dedicated to oncology nurses.
How Nurses Can ‘Curb the Spread’ and Support Themselves
As the United States reopens and social distancing moves into different phases, concerns remain about containing the COVID-19 coronavirus. Anxiety and stress are high as nurses and other healthcare professionals who are caring for COVID-19 positive patients are worried about their own health and the health of their families. A paramount fear is inadvertently spreading the virus to ourselves or our loved ones.
The Emotional Burden of COVID-19 Almost Made Me Leave Nursing
Life can steer you down a road that changes your impressions and view of the world. Without conscious awareness, it distorts comprehension and challenges you to change or be a byproduct of the times. Fighting to go back in time can destroy your life, livelihood, and career.
Be Honest: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
A full night’s sleep is a necessity, not a luxury, yet many people place sleep at the end of their priority list. Rather than seeing it as restorative, they think it takes up precious time to be productive. Many proudly proclaim, “You can sleep when you’re dead,” but ignoring healthy sleep habits can actually bring people closer to that end. Insufficient sleep is so pervasive in the United States that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it a public health epidemic.
Innovative Clinics Help Patients Safely Access Cancer Care During COVID-19
No longer just a convenience, drive-throughs are an essential part of social distancing during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Retailers and healthcare providers alike have taken it beyond the typical food, prescriptions, and banking, offering everything from merchandise to virus testing—and now, thanks to the innovation of two oncology nurses, cancer care.
The Case of the Medication Modification
Doug is a 70-year-old man receiving treatment at the cancer center for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. He was initially treated with sunitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). He has been experiencing significant upper back pain and is having trouble with fine motor skills in his fingers. The oncologist, suspecting spinal cord compression (SCC), ordered a computed tomography scan, which confirmed metastatic lesions in the spine leading to instability and mild SCC. The oncologist refers Doug for surgery and advises him that a new medication, cabozantinib, will be ordered for after his surgery. The oncologist asks you, the oncology nurse, to instruct Doug on surgical preparations and educate him on cabozantinib.
Share Your Comments About Hazardous Drugs With NIOSH
As part of the update process for the List of Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Department of Health and Human Services, is seeking public comments on the draft documents through June 30, 2020.
Nursing Innovation, Leadership, and Dedication Shine During Pandemic
It now seems providential that the World Health Organization named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife to honor Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. Who could have predicted how the world would rely on nurses to change the course of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic by upholding Nightingale’s leadership and principles of infection control from the 19th century?
A Perspective on COVID-19 for New and Student Nurses
COVID-19 coronavirus’s ripple effects extend so far beyond health and health care. Life in the United States doesn’t look the same as it did a few months ago. We’re all affected in some way, but senior nursing students have a distinct set of circumstances related to the pandemic.