Active Support Group Creates Community for AYAs With Cancer
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time. Being told that you have cancer can be a frightening experience, and feelings of loneliness and isolation are not uncommon, especially for young adults with cancer.
Oncology Nursing’s Future—Preparing the Next ONS Strategic Plan
Each spring brings a flurry of annual meetings held by oncology organizations: Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and ONS’s. This year I attended all and was part of panel presentations at ACCC and AACR to bring the nursing perspective to the topics.
Evidence-Based Practice Helps Standardize Care After Pancreatic Cancer Surgery
For many patients with cancer, surgery is an integral part of the treatment regimen and offers a chance for a cure. This is especially true for patients with pancreatic cancer, where surgery is currently the only potential cure for the disease and a predictor of long-term survival.
How Can Nurses Help Patients Understand End-of-Life Options?
When physician-assisted death mandates were passed in states like Oregon, Washington, and California, guidelines were established for practitioners as part of election mandates. However, in states like Montana and Vermont, the legalization of assisted death went through the legislature without process and practice guidelines. Therefore, practitioners have little or no framework to implement the process of medical aid in dying.
Focusing On the Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Imagine being in a hospital, unable to verbally communicate and having to find a way to get across your basic human needs. As oncology nurses, we take care of a variety of different patients: some able to make their needs known and some who unfortunately cannot.
How One Institution Used Evidence-Based Practice to Reduce CAUTIs
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, with an estimated 93,300 urinary tract infections (UTIs) and 13,000 UTI-related deaths occurring each year in acute care hospitals. A preventable cause of UTIs is the use of long-term indwelling urinary catheters, an ideal focus of evidence-based practice initiatives.
Oncology Nurse Develops Monitoring Document for Monoclonal Antibodies
It’s a rote but important phrase: Necessity is the mother of invention. When a need presents itself, developing novel, inventive solutions can lead to important change. But inventive change doesn’t have to come on a massive scale: small inventions can still have a big impact.
A Career in Nursing Offers Plethora of Challenging, Satisfying Opportunities
It’s the season for graduations. My husband and I recently celebrated our youngest daughter’s graduation from Saint Louis University School of Nursing—just as we did for our two older daughters. As I reflected on this time of celebration, I was reminded of when I was asked to write for Continuing the Legacy: More Voices of Oncology Nurses, an ONS book that shares the narrative history of oncology nursing through individual nurse stories. I wrote about a patient who taught me a lot during our time together. At the end of each story, the authors were asked to reflect on their contributions and their experiences. With all of the celebrations lately, I had to look back on what I wrote.
The Intersection of Radiation and Medical Oncology Nursing
Misconceptions about radiation treatments, associated side effects, and impact on patient care still permeate medical oncology for patients and providers alike. As educators, patient advocates, and caregivers, radiation oncology nurses play a critical role in the successful treatment and support of patients with cancer.
National Capital Chapter Members Focus on Advocacy and Research Funding in DC
In our nation’s capital, healthcare policy meetings occur weekly for various government and private organizations whose aim is to improve care and conditions for patients with cancer. The ONS National Capital Chapter members are involved in lobbying on the Hill and attending meetings about improving cancer care through the ONS Capitol Hill Gang.
Financial Toxicity Discussion Needs to Include Undocumented Patients
Financial toxicity in cancer care is an increasingly recognized burden for many patients. Driven by many factors, financial toxicity is often a combination of a patient’s individual characteristics, the costs associated with care, and the overall impact of the illness on a patient’s ability to work throughout the cancer journey. Financial toxicity negatively impacts patient outcomes, and many patients struggle with costs regardless of whether they’re covered by health insurance—this includes undocumented immigrants. Currently, more than 11.1 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, and they aren’t immune to cancer diagnoses.
How to Have Ethical Discussions in Your Practice
Having an outlet to consider, discuss, and reflect on oncology ethical issues that affect our daily practice is important in caring for each other in our profession. On our solid tumor oncology unit, monthly nursing ethics lunch and learns allow our nurses the opportunity to identify and discuss their concerns with recent patient cases involving ethical issues. Our hospital’s ethics committee chair facilitates the hour-long discussions held on the unit, along with a senior oncology nurse with significant training and background in clinical ethics.
When Good Nurses Say Bad Things: Fighting Professional Incivility
Professional incivility, rudeness, and bullying are not new to the world of nursing. Nurses can see escalated teasing or bullying as “a rite of passage” or “earning our stripes.” However, changes in the workplace have shown that no matter what it’s called, bullying and professional incivility has no place in the working environment. Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN®, CENP, clinical director of the Solid Tumor Program at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA, and Tracy Gosselin, PhD, RN, AOCN®, NEA-BC, chief nursing and patient care services officer at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC, gave a lecture at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC, on their work with professional incivility and bullying and ways to teach nurses how to intervene and become powerful bystanders.
ONS Greater Baltimore Chapter Advocates at the State Level
In today’s increasingly fractured political environment, with heightened partisanship, Washington, DC, has become toxic. New ideas and common-sense solutions are rare and promoting issues without politicization is literally a full-time job. Interest groups are now finding policy opportunities for success in the state capitals. Some advocacy initiatives have found easier, and faster, wins for their organizational efforts at the state legislature level.
Nursing Student Embraces New Opportunities in Oncology to Grow Professionally
As a student graduating from a traditional four-year bachelor of science in nursing program, career opportunities in nursing are seemingly endless. It’s exciting to enter a field that involves helping and caring for people and provides an opportunity to work with patients of all different cultures, ethnicities, ages, and personalities. I initially chose a nursing career because I’ve always been interested in the science of the body. I love making connections and communicating with people, and I have a passion for helping people get through their worst times. As a student, the only goal I had as an aspiring nurse was to work in pediatrics.
How Does Mentorship Help New Oncology Nurse Authors Get Published?
Writing and publishing for the first time can be a daunting experience, but the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) Writing Mentorship Program is a great opportunity for oncology nurses looking to publish their own work. The program pairs published nurses who share their experiences and expertise with ONS members who are new to the publishing process.
Jill Biden Works With ONS Members and Others to Understand the Caregiver Experience
In coffee shops around the country, between clicking cups and grinding coffee beans, former second lady of the United States, Jill Biden, EdD, is quietly gathering small groups of oncology nurses, care coordinators, social workers, and family members who support patients with cancer to discuss the obstacles facing caregivers throughout the cancer journey. As part of the Biden Cancer Initiative’s (BCI’s) continued work to improve oncology care, this coterie of caregivers is heralding the trials and triumphs that come with addressing the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients with cancer.
Cancer Prevention and Awareness Starts With Oncology Nurses
April is designated as National Cancer Control Month in the United States. It’s a federally endorsed observation, annually encouraged by a proclamation from the president. April is dedicated to raising awareness for cancer prevention and treatment throughout the country. Approved through a joint resolution by Congress in 1938, the yearly presidential announcement serves as a reminder to all Americans that awareness of the factors that cause or prevent cancer are crucial to the public health.
The Future Is Full of Opportunities for Advancing Oncology Nursing and Cancer Care
As I reflect on my time as ONS president, I realize that I am concluding my term as I began: grateful for the oncology nurses who have inspired and supported me. We are all guided by the common goal to provide the best possible care to individuals with cancer.
Supportive Care Programs for Patients With Cancer
Focusing on a patient’s quality of life is often a key component to their successful cancer journey. Treating their disease is crucial, but patients have to be recognized as individuals with unique and varying needs. Addressing their emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychosocial stressors can help provide holistic treatment that’s at the heart of successful oncology care.
Cancer Prevention Is Political Pillow Talk
On February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, I had the honor of representing the ONS at the Congressional Families Caucus with Alec Stone, ONS director for public affairs, who made the connection between Congressional Families and ONS. The Congressional Families Caucus is made up of spouses of congressional members serving in the House of Representatives and Senate.
What Is the Role of Interprofessional Teams in a BMT Unit?
The old saying, “it takes a village,” comes to mind. Many team members are needed to help a patient through one of the most critical times of their lives. Blood and marrow transplant (BMT) nurses play a large role, along with BMT physicians. However, we also depend on our BMT pharmacist, BMT dietician, and BMT social worker as part of the interprofessional team. Our patients not only need excellent nursing and medical care, but they also need care from members of the team to support them physically, psychologically, and nutritionally from transplant prep through the transplant itself and into the recovery phase.
Interprofessional Collaborations Improve Cancer Care
When faced with a difficult problem, it’s human nature to seek different perspectives, to work together with others facing similar issues to accomplish a common goal. Compromise, collaboration, and communication are essential to successful teams—whether it’s your daughter’s basketball team, the U.S. government, or any group in between. In oncology, teamwork is no different. Bringing together professionals from different disciplines can yield tremendous results for patients with cancer.
One Nurse Challenges the Profession’s Stereotypes in Fiction
The white dress, emblazoned with a red medical cross, might be one of the most well-known fiction tropes about nursing, but it isn’t the only one—not by a longshot. In TV shows, movies, books, and more, nurses are often depicted in stereotypically inaccurate ways. Those misrepresentations paint a wildly incomplete picture of nursing’s role in patient care, often leading to real patients who misunderstand the crucial role nurses play in their care.
ONS Leaders Named to Biden Cancer Initiative Board and Advisory Committee
ONS President Susan Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, was appointed to the Biden Cancer Initiative board of directors, among other experts in health care, business, finance, and technology. The Cancer Initiative also named ONS Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon MSN, RN, FAAN, to its advisory committee, comprised of 25 other experts aiming to transform the way cancer is detected, diagnosed, and treated by implementing new solutions to complex healthcare problems.
Oncology Nurse and ONS Member Named President of Johns Hopkins Health System
ONS member and oncology nurse, Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN, former president of Duke University Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC, was appointed president of the John Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, both in Baltimore, MD, on December 8, 2017, and begins his tenure on February 1, 2018. He is only the second person in Johns Hopkins history to hold these dual roles.
CJON Offers Opportunities for Oncology Nurses to Start Writing and Get Published
Young authors have so much to share, and they shouldn’t think that what they have to say isn’t worthy of publication just because they’re young. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring young authors on many occasions. Recently, I had the joy of watching a novice author actually open a journal and see her article in print. It was made even more special because it was my daughter, Elaine, who is a senior nursing student at Saint Louis University School of Nursing. She shared her personal story about her decision to become a nurse in the Clinical Moment feature in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing’s (CJON’s) October 2017 issue.
Using Photography to Track Progress of Head and Neck Cancers
Building relationships with patients is just one of the many roles of oncology nurses. However, it’s generally not possible to see your patients every day. This isn’t uncommon, but it can pose problems to oncology professionals treating patients with head and neck cancers.
Best Practices for Abstract Writing and Presentation
The development of an abstract, poster, or podium presentation is a significant undertaking. Presenting the scope of your work in a concise and effective way can be daunting, but it does not have to be. Erica Fischer-Cartlidge, MSN, CNS, CBCN®, AOCNS®, a clinical nurse specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, provided advice on abstract writing and presentation.
An Insider’s Guide to Getting Published
One of the primary vehicles for sharing your expertise with colleagues and peers is to publish a professional article. This process may seem daunting and difficult—an impression that no doubt deters many oncology nurses from pursuing it. But the truth is that getting published is a feasible goal. It is also one that enhances your professional development.
How Have Your Family Experiences With Cancer Impacted Your Decision to Become an Oncology Nurse?
My desire to become an oncology nurse began when I was 11 years old; like many children at that age I was struggling to discover who I would become. When my mother explained her breast cancer diagnosis to me, our very peaceful world froze for a moment. I grew up rurally in South Pomfret, VT, on many miles of dirt road that led to a beautiful, cozy little house. The idyllic world I lived in suddenly changed; although I could support my mother emotionally with compassion and love, others were working medical miracles to keep her well. Witnessing this, I discovered the deep desire to make an impact in others’ lives through pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing and a career in oncology.
Serving on Boards Allows Nurses to Improve the Nation’s Health
As the largest healthcare profession and the one most trusted by the public in the annual Gallup survey, nurses have the power to improve the health of communities throughout the country by bringing their expertise into the boardroom. However, we are an absent voice in so many of those boardrooms.
Oncology Nurse Appointed CEO of Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Regina Cunningham, PhD, RN, NEABC, FAAN, has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia. Cunningham is the first nurse, oncology-specific or otherwise, to hold the position since the institution’s inception in 1874. She begins her tenure as CEO for HUP in April 2017.
Here’s What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Health Policy Areas of Focus for 2017
As 2017 begins, ONS is hard at work supporting several new policies that could shape health care in the coming months and years. Although the election season has ended, ONS’s ongoing advocacy for oncology nurses and patients with cancer continues.
A Nurse Pays It Forward to Support the Goals of Oncology Nurse Colleagues
How Nurses Can Help Women Adhere to Oral Adjuvant Breast Cancer Treatment
How Do You Bridge Oncology Nurses and Genetic Counselors?
The Oncology Nurse’s Voice Will Be Vital to the Blue Ribbon Recommendations
Stepping Up to the Podium: From Abstract Submission to Podium Presentation
ONS Punches Ticket for Delegation to Cuba
Spread Awareness on Melanoma Monday
On one of the first warm spring days in St. Louis, I came home and found my active dog, Maggie, sound asleep and enjoying the warmth of the sun. Like many humans, she was taking pleasure in a beautiful day and found it relaxing. As the summer approaches, many will spend much more time outside. Despite the inviting nature of a warm day, there are still hidden dangers.
Supporting Nurses With Disabilities
Recently, my middle daughter and I submitted a Letter to the Editor that was published in the professional nursing journal Nurse Educator. It was in response to a paper in the journal that emphasized the need for professional nursing to embrace and implement means for nurses with disabilities to contribute to excellent patient care.
The Amazing Power Of A Smile
My Unexpected Journey to Oncology Nursing
I never anticipated that I would be an oncology nurse. In fact, I’m not exactly sure what led me to the path of nursing. My paternal grandmother was a nurse and worked for a few short years before she married. She lived to see me graduate from Saint Louis University in 1983 and take my first job on an oncology floor. I am not sure how much influence she carried. I do know that she was always proud that she had become a nurse.