What It’s Like to Compete in the ONS Hackathon™
When ONS reached out and asked me to participate in the inaugural ONS Hackathon, I wasted no time in confirming my interest. I had heard of hackathons before but never a nursing-specific one. It was an exciting experience full of growth for me and the other oncology nurses who participated.
Nurses, Researchers Create Innovative Solutions to Ambulatory Care Challenges in ONS Hackathon
Efficiently running an ambulatory infusion clinic is a complex process that requires evolving strategies to equip staff to provide high-quality cancer care. During the June 2021 ONS HackathonTM, oncology nurse innovators created solutions to address ineffective nursing resources in infusion centers across the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ONS’s First African American President Shares Insights and Advice in Honor of Black History Month
When ONS Past President Mary Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN®, LSSYB, FAAN, was elected by her peers in 2012, she said it was the “absolute pinnacle of my oncology nursing career”: Gullatte made the ONS history books as the Society’s first African American president. But the achievement has been just one part of an illustrious, 40-year career in oncology nursing and administration, holding roles like vice president of patient services, chief nursing officer, and director of oncology nursing services throughout the Emory University healthcare system in Atlanta, GA, where she currently serves as the corporate director of nursing evidence-based practice and research.
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.
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 Does Nursing Certification Foster Lifelong Professional Development?
When I sat for the very first Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON®) examination through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation in 1993, I had no idea how obtaining my certification would positively affect my career. I was one of four nurses from the University of North Carolina Hospitals who felt strongly as a group that we could and should pursue our CPON® certification, and we all passed the exam together.
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.
Brain Tumor Navigator Role Bridges the Intersection of Cancer and Neuroscience
My role as a nurse navigator, for both patients with cancer and in the neuroscience arena, is the culmination of a 40-year career in oncology nursing. I got my start in nurse navigation 11 years ago. At the time I was working in Hoag’s brain tumor program and noticed that those patients had needs that we weren’t meeting. So, I shared my concern with the program directors and today Hoag continues to develop its brain tumor navigator role.
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.
Stay Positive During COVID-19 by Remembering Our Purpose
One of the first people we learn about in nursing school is Florence Nightingale. During the Crimean War, she noticed soldiers were dying because of disease, not from the effects of war. Because of Nightingale’s observations and interventions, handwashing and infection control became standard practices in nursing. From her findings, Nightingale developed her environmental theory, in which she said nursing is a calling, art, and science that requires a specific education base. We’re recognizing this throughout 2020 as we celebrate the Year of the Nurse, and it’s especially important to remember during today’s pandemic.
Once a Nurse, Always a Nurse
“Desperate times breed desperate measures." —William Shakespeare
Today is an unprecedented time in history: the COVID-19 coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. The United States faces a challenge unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, especially on our soil. We will lose many lives. Living in New Rochelle, NY, has made me acutely aware of this, perhaps before many other parts of the country.
NINR Acting Director Responds to COVID-19 Pandemic
Tara Schwetz, PhD, acting director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), issued a statement acknowledging the role of nurses as more essential than ever to patient care during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Use These Personal Development Strategies for Self-Improvement
Personal development is a lifelong process. It’s a way to assess our skills and qualities, consider our aims in life, and set goals to realize and maximize our potential. Part of personal development involves challenging ourselves to learn and master new skills. The more we put ourselves out there—away from our comfort zone to try new things—the more we learn about ourselves.
Commit to Protect and Care for Yourself During Oncology Nursing Month
May is a month of celebration as we look forward to graduations, Mother’s Day, National Nurses’ Day, and Oncology Nursing Month. Many of us will celebrate with small gifts or trinkets, continuing education events, or treats like special breakfasts, donuts, or pizza parties from our employers. How will you celebrate your role in a profession that the public continues to describe as the most trusted year after year? How will you continue to nurture and protect yourself as one of nearly 4 million national treasures?
The Value of Oncology Nurse Certification
Oncology care is a complex field in a constant state of paradigm shifts, where new information and research affect clinical practice in countless ways. Amid rapid developments in treatments, technologies, and patient-care modalities, oncology nurses must show they’re up to date with emerging knowledge in their field. Oncology nurse certification is one way nurses can demonstrate their commitment to the art and science of patient-centered oncology care.
We Are All Florence Nightingale
At first this seems like a bold statement, but think about it for a moment. What do we know about Florence Nightingale? She is credited as the founder of modern nursing and embodied nursing leadership and advocacy. She improved hygiene practices in hospitals, resulting in fewer infections and deaths. She pioneered statistical analysis on the conditions surrounding the provision of medical care, especially during the Crimean War, and used visual presentations (or early infographics). She created patient services, such as a kitchen that prepared special dietary meals for patients, a laundry to provide clean linens, and a library for patients’ intellectual stimulation.
Three ONS Members Selected to Inaugural Class of CNSI Fellows
To recognize outstanding contributions and excellence to the field of clinical nurse specialists, the Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute (CNSI) selected 38 nurses to its inaugural class of fellows, including three ONS members Marilyn Chrisman, MS, APRN, GCNS-BC, Patricia Geddie, PhD, CNS, AOCNSA, and Tina Mason, MSN, ARNP, AOCNA, AOCNSA. They will be among the first fellows to use the FCNS credential in practice.
Laugh Every Day for the Health of It
An uproarious guffaw, uncontainable giggle, or a hearty hoot often has a ripple effect, turning a quiet room into a cacophony of sounds collectively identified as laughter. Humor is generally considered a subjective experience. Laughter, however, can be spontaneous or consciously produced by going through the motions (fake it till you make it). Either way, the overall benefits associated with laughter make it a virtually priceless self-care strategy.
What Do You Stand For?
Some lines are more memorable than others. In the Broadway musical Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton challenges Aaron Burr with this statement: “If you stand for nothin’, Burr, what will you fall for?”
I have stolen that line when teaching nurses about bullying and incivility in our workplaces. Unfortunately, this is a topic that we still need to talk about.
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 Importance of Passion, Experience, and Resilience in Oncology Nursing
What makes a great oncology nurse? Is it opportunity and experience? Is it passion? I’ve worked with managers who’ve held wildly different opinions on these hiring characteristics, but I would argue they’re all critically important.
ONS 43rd Annual Congress Opening Honors Oncology Nurses’ Compassion, Innovation, and Dedication
Keynote speaker Lee Tomlinson, founder of the C.A.R.E. Effect, discussed his journey from cancer survivor to patient advocate, calling for compassionate care and thanking nurses for being the reason he is alive today, during the opening session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC, on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
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.
Find, Be, and Thank an Oncology Nursing Mentor This May
The month of May is a perfect time to think about new beginnings. Among its seasonal events such as Mother’s Day, weddings, baby showers, and graduations, we also celebrate Oncology Nursing Month and ONS Congress in Washington, DC, this year.
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.
Lay Patient Navigators Can Help Oncology Nurses Guide Patients Through Cancer Care
Even for medical professionals working in health care every day, the U.S. healthcare system can be incredibly complex. Understanding where to obtain information and how to connect patients to resources can be difficult. For patients, navigating their treatment journey can be—at times—downright impossible. Coordinating care for patients with cancer is a crucial component to successful outcomes and quality cancer care.
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.
How ONS Is Advocating for Our Patients and Our Profession
A responsibility of the ONS president, Board members, and senior staff is to advocate for our patients and our profession. To say that 2017 was a busy year is an understatement. This column, whether written by the president or by me, often describes where ONS has been, who has represented the organization and you, and what our advocacy or education has been.
Laughing in the Face of Cancer: ONS Member Shares Mother’s Comical Reflections on Being a Patient
American author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” Humor has the ability to sooth and heal, and humor often makes grim situations feel brighter and less daunting. Moments affixed with tragedy, grief, loss, and terror can often soften in time, allowing for understanding, acceptance, and sometimes even laughter.
McCorkle Is the First Nurse to Receive Yale Cancer Center Lifetime Achievement Award
ONS member Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, FAAN, was awarded the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her national and international contributions to oncology, specifically in the areas of palliative care, psychosocial care, and quality of life research. McCorkle is the first nurse to receive this honor from the Yale Cancer Center.
Remembering Margo McCaffery’s Contributions to Pain Management
Former ONS member Margo McCaffery, RN, MS, FAAN, was a leader and pioneer in pain management for nursing. Through her work, she helped to identify and treat patients with acute and chronic pain in a number of healthcare settings. McCaffery’s 1968 definition of pain was simple—“It’s whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever and wherever the person says it does.” Her words have become a touchstone for clinicians addressing and treating patients in pain.
How Nurse Practitioners Are Enhancing the Oncology Workforce
With improved early detection guidelines and techniques as well as advancing cancer treatments, cancer is now a chronic disease in an already aging population. In addition, the Affordable Care Act expanded healthcare coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans, increasing the need for medical services. With these trends in health care, nurse practitioners (NPs) are needed at the forefront to positively impact and enhance oncology care.
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.
Nominating Colleagues for Nursing Awards Is a Professional Responsibility
At two national nursing events in October 2017, ONS members received prestigious awards. You may have seen the news about them in your ONS Voice weekly emails. They did not receive these awards without the work of colleagues who prepared their nominations.
Oncology Nurse and ONS Member Selected to Attend Global Entrepreneur Summit in India
In clinics across the country, oncology nurses are moving the needle when it comes to patient-centered care. They innovate, create practice change, and are the lifelines for many of their patients. One oncology nurse and ONS member has combined her unique background in software development and health care to form a new business that aims to provide real-time practice resources to oncology nurses. In recognition of her achievements, ONS member and chief executive officer of Helpsy Health, Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, has been selected to attend the 8th annual Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India.
Follow the Path to Oncology Nursing
Every oncology nurse has a story about how he or she was drawn into cancer care. For some it’s through professional mentors or a personal experience with cancer. ONS member Kimberley Munn, RN, BSN, OCN®, was raised in a family of healthcare professionals.
ONS Members Recognized for Achievements in Oncology Nursing
Through contributions in the field, oncology nurses are driving the quality of cancer care forward, improving patient outcomes and enhancing quality of life and access to care. Whether they’re changing practice through innovation, research, excellence, or leadership, ONS members are making a big difference in practices across the country—and several have recently been recognized for their achievements in oncology nursing.
After 100 Years, Nursing School Is Both Different Yet Still the Same
Earlier this month, I found this picture of my grandmother from 1918. She must have sent it to her sister, because on the back of the photo was scrawled a message: “I thought you might want a snap to see me in my nursing uniform.” This is like a selfie from nearly a hundred years ago. Although the sign behind her says, “Don’t park here,” that’s exactly what she’s doing. The humor was not lost.
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.