Advanced Practice Highlights From the 2023 Tandem Meetings
In February 2023, the Tandem Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Meetings of ASTCT and CIBMTR brought the latest cutting-edge science and technologies in hematopoietic cell transplantation and cellular therapy to nurses around the globe. Here are some of the highlights I experienced as an advanced practice provider (APP) in blood and marrow stem cell transplantation.
Cultural Educational Classic Schoolhouse Rock! Turns 50 and Continues to Educate
Schoolhouse Rock! celebrated its 50th anniversary in January 2023. The Saturday morning cartoons debuted in 1973 and brought school lessons on a variety of subjects, including government and democracy, to children through catchy yet educational lyrics and beats.
Transgender Patients, Deadnaming, and Patient Identification
Individuals who identify as transgender and non-binary may no longer use their birth or legal name but rather choose a new name that aligns with their identity. When they ask that you use their new name instead, calling them by their old name is referred to as deadnaming and can be a stressful and traumatic experience for the individual and is even considered an act of verbal violence.
RNs Need More Education About Reasonable Accommodations for Patients With Intellectual Disabilities
Nearly 60% of RNs say they have limited awareness of the concept of reasonable accommodations for patients with intellectual disabilities, researchers reported in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. They said their findings indicate a dire need for increased nursing education and training.
Four R’s and Resilience Approach Help Oncology Nurses Respond to Morally Distressing Challenges
Disparity. Inequity. Futility. Barriers. Miscommunication. Unacceptance of the inevitable. Ethical and moral challenges perpetuate throughout practice for today’s healthcare workers, particularly oncology nurses in cancer care. As those burdens build up, nurses struggle to sustain their resilience and risk developing burnout or even leaving the profession entirely.
Innovative Oncology Nurses Break Down Communication Barriers for Patients Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Many patients with cancer confront complex health disparities, but those with disabilities must muddle through more barriers than those without. As nurses, we have a responsibility to help our patients obtain the best possible care and support them during treatments such as a bone marrow transplantation.
Watch Your Words to Lose the Weight Bias in Health Care
Weight bias and stigma are evident across all professionals in the health care industry, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, and mental healthcare providers, researchers reported in Nursing Clinics of North America. They said that using people-first language is critical to reducing bias and discrimination.
Thousands of Fraudulent Nursing Diplomas Distributed in Fake Nursing License Scheme
More than two dozen people were charged for alleged participation in a wire fraud scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for nursing candidates following an investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and law enforcement in January 2023.
Cancer Care’s Global Connections Turn Places Into People
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths each year. That alarming statistic reminds us that we are part of a global network of oncology nurses caring for those diagnosed with cancer. For many people in low- to middle-income countries, late-stage disease, premature death, and pain and suffering are common. Opioids and supportive care medications are sometimes sparse, and clinicians lack the knowledge and resources to provide palliative care.
Tip Sheet Helps Nurses Confront Systemic Racism by Providing Equitable Hair Care
Maintaining a patient’s personal grooming during an inpatient stay is an important aspect of holistic nursing care, but nurses and hospitals alike may fall short when it comes to textured hair care, nurses reported in the American Journal of Nursing.
Direct-to-Consumer Genomic Testing in Patients With Cancer
Direct-to-consumer genomic testing is a patient-initiated type of testing that is marketed to the general public in advertisements on all media. The tests can be purchased online or in stores without requiring a healthcare professional order or third-party payer authorization. Customers send a saliva sample to the company and view their test results on a secure website, but the results are not included in their electronic health record unless they specifically request it.
Demonstrate Your Scope of Practice by Becoming an Oncology Certified Nurse
In the years following their initial licensure, nurses will often pursue certification. Obtaining certification shows a nurse’s commitment to their profession, specialty, and patients. Along with showing their commitment, certifications validate a nurse’s qualification and knowledge of a specific area.
Licensure, Scope of Practice, and Reporting
Your nursing career might take many paths, but they all share a primary entry into professional practice: licensure. Licensure verifies that an RN understands and adheres to the laws and statutes that govern their profession as outlined in their state’s nurse practice act. In addition to defining your full scope of practice, your RN license also enables you to fully use your voice and advocate for your patients, as well as report medical errors in practice—both essential responsibilities when providing high-quality cancer care.
Build Your Confidence in Next-Generation Sequencing With Nursing Toolkits and Resources
Essential biomarker testing technologies like next-generation sequencing are increasing our comprehension of cancer genetics and genomics. Biomarker testing results provide prognostic and predictive information about a tumor’s biology and growth to guide treatment decisions. Patients with cancer are turning to their oncology nurses to help them understand their complex test results and corresponding recommended treatment plans, yet many oncology nurses have minimal, if any, formal training in the area.
HHS Invests $13 Million to Grow and Strengthen the Nursing Workforce
Making a commitment to equip today’s and future nurses with the knowledge they need to deliver safe, high-quality care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded $13 million in October 2022 to programs to improve access to. The awarded funds are part of a series of investments the Biden-Harris Administration earmarked to support pathways to nursing jobs.
OSTP Makes Federally Funded Research Easily Accessible to the Public
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy updated policy guidance in August 2022 to allow the average American easier access to publications. The new guidance applies to taxpayer-funded research studies and makes the results publicly available for free.
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: HOXB13
An altered HOXB13 gene may increase a patient’s risk for developing prostate cancer. The HOXB13 gene is expressed in the prostate beginning in early development and affects prostate cell proliferation and differentiation and androgen receptor regulation. When it acts as a tumor suppressor gene, HOXB13 codes for a protein that regulates cell division. However, altered copies of HOXB13 are inactivated, meaning that it does not function properly or does not produce the protein it codes for, resulting in uncontrolled cell division.
What the Evidence Says About Probiotics and Cancer Immunotherapy
Growing evidence suggests that the gut microbiome, a diverse and complex mix of microorganisms and their metabolites, is closely linked to the immune system, and researchers are studying whether modulating the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy treatment outcomes. In particular, probiotics—which are flora typically obtained through dietary sources such as yogurt and fermented foods or via supplemental forms—are gaining prominence as a potential strategy to modulate the gut microbiome during cancer treatment.
Oncology Nurse Uses Retirement to Help Patients and Healthcare Professionals Understand Pancreatic Cancer Biomarker Testing Results
In June 2021, I was at a crossroads in my career. I had been an oncology nurse practitioner for the past 14 years, and it was time to decide if I should retire as a provider. Yet I felt like I still had more to do and more patients to help. I was determined to make a difference for patients with cancer.
PARP Inhibitors and Ovarian Cancer
Before poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibitors were approved for ovarian cancer, traditional treatment consisted of surgical cytoreduction and platinum-based chemotherapy with a taxane, with or without bevacizumab, depending on stage and type. With the surgery-chemotherapy combination, 70%–75% of patients had recurrence and overall five-year survival rate were 29%, indicating a need for additional therapies.
Educational Resources Will Help Biomarkers Have Even More Impact
My passion for biomarkers lies in research, specifically clinical trials. The incorporation of biomarkers in oncology clinical trials has been an important advancement in research, and we’ve seen the effect on improving patient outcomes. Identification of pathogenic variants is essential to prescribing personalized therapy for patients with cancer.
Communication Models Help Nurses Confidently Address Sexual Concerns in Patients With Cancer
Sexual dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment, yet oncology professionals often under address patients’ sexuality and sexual dysfunction concerns. Providers cite lack of time, training, and resources as barriers to initiating important discussions about sexual side effects, and studies show that patients’ age and prognosis are additional hindering factors.
Understand Genomic Variants to Confidently Educate Your Patients
Nurses’ consistent and correct use of genomics terminology is critical to reduce confusion and provide safe genomics care to patients and their families, especially when explaining the meaning of genomic tests or findings.
Put Underserved Populations at the Forefront of the Sexual Health Conversation
Cancer and its treatments can affect a patient’s body in many ways, including sexual function. However, the historical evidence base is focused on cisgender men and their sexual health post-cancer treatment, with sexual health of women and LGBTQIA+ patients largely ignored. I, and many others, are working to change these disparities in research and practice.
What Is HER2-Low Breast Cancer?
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) proteins are involved in normal cellular growth and are found on the surface of all breast cells. Approximately 20% of breast cancers are HER2 positive, meaning they have high levels of HER2 protein, and those cancers typically grow and metastasize more quickly than other types of breast cancer.
Oncology Drug Reference Sheet: Fam-Trastuzumab Deruxtecan-Nxki
Bringing the first agent to market for the indication, on August 5, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu®) for patients with unresectable or metastatic HER2-low breast cancer based on results from the DESTINY-Breast04 trial that demonstrated improved progression-free and overall survival. FDA also gave fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan its fourth approval on August 11, 2022, for unresectable or metastatic HER2-activating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Diverse Nursing Research Tackles Current Medical Challenges and Looks Toward Future
The National Institute of Nursing Research, an National Institutes of Health agency, released its 2022–2026 strategic plan in summer 2022 to support its mission of leading “nursing research to solve pressing health challenges and inform practice and policy—optimizing health and advancing health equity into the future.”
Strategies to Promote Safe Medication Administration Practices
Medication administration is a high-risk process that requires critical thinking, efficient decision-making, attention to detail, and a foundational knowledge of basic pharmacology. The process is not a single task but a cascade of events that include handling, ordering, preparing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. Although nurses’ involvement varies at each phase, the risk for errors always exists, and consequences can have a lifelong impact on patients, families, and healthcare workers. Nurses can use the following strategies in their responsibility as the last line of defense for safe medication administration.
NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative Rallies Efforts to Address the Dangers of the Environment on Health
The National Institutes of Health launched the Climate Change and Health Initiative to expand knowledge and address key challenges regarding the environment’s impact on health and conditions like cancer in a collaborating all-hands-on-deck scientific effort, Richard Woychik, PhD, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a blog post in July 2022.
ANA Adopts Statement to Address Past Racial Harms and Build a Better Future
Recognizing past actions, seeking forgiveness, and outlining its approach for the future, the American Nurses Association unanimously adopted a racial reckoning statement in June 2022. According to the association, the statement was the first step in acknowledging previous actions that have impacted nurses of color and perpetuated systemic racism.
FDA Approves Sodium Thiosulfate for Cisplatin-Associated Ototoxicity in Pediatric Patients
On September 20, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of sodium thiosulfate (Pedmark®) to reduce the risk of ototoxicity associated with cisplatin in pediatric patients aged 1 month and older with localized, nonmetastatic solid tumors.
Share Your Best Practices and Other Oncology Nursing Experiences Through an ONS Voice Article or Video
You and your colleagues innovate every day—providing individual patient cases, developing best practices, and collaborating on other shared experiences. ONS Voice articles and its new video series, My Practice, can help you disseminate your expertise and guidance to other oncology nurses. Tell us your topic ideas, and ONS Publications staff will help you either write an article or create a video resource illustrating your experience.
FDA Publishes Three New Biosimilars Resources for Healthcare Providers
To raise awareness and better educate patients and providers about biosimilars’ potential in clinical care, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added three new fact sheets to its healthcare provider resources in July 2022.
Monkeypox Fact Sheet and Implications for Patients With Cancer
In May 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking cases of monkeypox in the United States, a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. As of August 2022, 48 U.S states have reported at least some level of monkeypox diagnoses, and the World Health Organization declared the virus a global public health emergency.
Promote Patient Self-Advocacy Across the Cancer Spectrum
Healthcare professionals are called to provide patient-centered care in an environment where they listen to patients’ goals and desires and support patient autonomy. However, heeding that call requires patients’ participation to voice their needs and concerns, and some patients may be reluctant to speak up for themselves.
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 is an autosomal dominant disease that occurs because of germline pathogenic variants in the rearranged during transfection (RET) proto-oncogene. The RET gene was isolated in 1993 and pathogenic variants affect 1–10 per 100,000 people. Approximately 50% of cases are de novo.
FDA Reports Recall of CVS Magnesium Citrate Saline Laxative Oral Solution Lemon Flavor Due to Microbial Contamination
On June 21, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported Vi-Jon, LLC’s, voluntarily recall of one lot of CVS magnesium citrate saline laxative oral solution lemon flavor, 10 fl oz (296 ml), after testing revealed the product contains the bacteria Gluconacetobacter liquefaciens.
Without My Fellowship Program and ONS, I Would Not Be the Nurse I Am Today
Cancer has affected my family, and I believe that experience made me more empathetic toward my patients. As an undergraduate nursing student, I had the privilege of participating in the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Fellowship program, which truly enabled me to appreciate just how special oncology nursing is before I entered the workforce. I have and always will continue to carry the lessons I learned from the experience throughout my professional career, and the opportunity it opened for me to get involved in ONS gave me an incredible resource and community as I advance in my practice.
Oncology Care Model Created New Opportunities for APRNs to Transform Cancer Care
Launched in 2016 as a pilot program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center to develop new payment and delivery system models, the Oncology Care Model had a lofty goal: drive improvements in providing high-quality and cost-effective care.
FDA Reports BD’s Recall of Intraosseous Products
On June 22, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported Becton, Dickinson and Company’s (BD’s) voluntary recall of its intraosseous needle set kits, manual driver kits, and powered drivers. Use of the products could lead to needlestick injuries or delays in care because of limited or non-functioning intraosseous access.
Biden-Harris Administration Launches Initiative to Protect People’s Health From Climate Events
The well-established connection between climate change and health is back in the spotlight, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity launched a new observational initiative in May to identify strategies to protect the public.
ONS’s Clinical Decision Support Tool Brings Biomarker Advancements to the Point of Care
PITTSBURGH, PA—June 24, 2022—Curated by nurses, for nurses, ONS’s new Biomarker Database connects clinicians to information about therapeutic options for certain cancers and their associated biomarkers.
The Case of the Late Head and Neck Lymphedema
Samuel, a 55-year-old patient with a history of T3N1M0 oropharyngeal HPV+ cancer on the base of his tongue, underwent surgery followed by 70 Gy of intensity-modulated radiation over seven weeks with concurrent weekly cisplatin. He responded well and had a positron emission tomography (PET) scan three months post-treatment that showed no cancer. Two months later, Samuel calls the triage line to report swelling on the left side of his neck, the same area where he first noticed a lymph node that led to his initial diagnosis.
New FDA Standards for Tobacco and Menthol Products Reduces Cigarettes’ Appeal
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed two product standards in April 2022 aimed at banning flavored tobacco and menthol products. According to FDA, the proposed product standard would “reduce the appeal of cigarettes, particularly to youth and young adults, and thereby decrease the likelihood that nonusers who would otherwise experiment with menthol cigarettes would progress to regular smoking.”
HHS Announces $226.5 Million to Launch Community Health Worker Training Program
Created from $226.5 million in American Rescue Plan Funding, the Community Health Worker Training Program will increase the number of community health workers; mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services; chronic disease care; and other important health services, according to an April 2022 press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Climate Change Is Contributing to the Cancer Burden, and Nurses Must Take Action
Climate change affects more than weather patterns or the environment; it also has a substantial impact on human health. Its contribution to the cancer burden includes increased levels of carcinogens, comorbidity factors, cancer incidence, and cancer mortality and reduced access to care.
Mama at the Bar: Using Analogies to Understand Targeted Therapies
Analogies and visuals are powerful learning tools. If you’re one of the many nurses whose eyes glaze over when approaching genomics, consider connecting the “omics” concepts to interpretative visuals, clinical practice, and everyday life examples to enhance your learning and make the concepts more relevant to you. Here’s an example of how it can be done.