Wrap Up the Year With Reflection and Gratitude
Self-reflection is natural as we transition between years, and sometimes doing so can be difficult. Brains seem to really like to hold onto the lows, but give yourself equal time to celebrate the highs you experienced this year and reflect on all you’re grateful for as you get ready for another trip around the sun.
NINR and NIDDK Directors Praise Nurses for Their Role on Care Teams
Patients have long lauded nurses’ essential role on their care team—and in an August 2022 podcast episode, healthcare agency leaders did too. Shannon Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, National Institute of Nursing Research director, described nurses as important members of care teams during a short conversation with Griffin Rodgers, MD, MACP, National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease director.
Vision Boards Turn Your Dreams Into Reality
Vision boards are a collage of images and phrases that represent your goals, dreams, and attitudes; they help you manifest your aspirations by physically placing your thoughts into the world. Although few studies have measured their effectiveness, experts suggest that creating a vision board can help you reach your goals.
When the Provider Becomes the Patient: What I Learned From COVID-19
My world changed on December 22, 2021. It is a day I will never forget: the day I tested positive for COVID-19. For nearly two years, all while caring for patients with the virus, I avoided contracting it. I prided myself on mask-wearing, handwashing, and social distancing, but what we know all too well is that COVID-19 does not discriminate.
Connect With Your Patients on a Human Level as Well as a Healthcare Level
As a healthcare provider, I had been warned about getting too close to my patients. They told me that it was unprofessional, it would cloud my judgment, it would lead to emotional burnout, and various other reasons. For my first year as a nurse, I took that advice to heart and kept my emotional distance while still doing my best to provide care to the whole patient. Then one night I met Jeff, and everything changed.
Mrs. Jones Gave Me the ‘Ah-Ha’ Moment That Guided My Entire Nursing Career
After years of hard work, Mrs. Jones and her husband had what seemed to be an idyllic life traveling and enjoying their life together. As a newly minted nurse on the medical/surgical unit, I got to know them over the months I cared for her during repeated admissions for melanoma. At each admission, they would be side by side, inseparable and so in love. I was just a new bride, and I wondered if my marriage would be as magical as theirs.
As Oncology Nurses, We Are the Fish
One day, years ago now, my son and my daughter were listening to a bedtime story. My husband was reading them the Cat in the Hat, one of their favorite stories. And at the end, my son gave one of those happy little hops that kids give and said to my husband, "Dad you're so cool, you're like the Cat in the Hat." And I was walking by, putting laundry away or something, and I sort of turned and said, "If Dad is the Cat in the Hat, then who am I?" I was thinking I was the absent, completely irresponsible mother or Thing One or Thing Two.
Patients and the Public Recognize and Thank Dedicated Nurses
A single patient. A team of nurses providing compassionate, patient-centered care. A family so thankful that it had to give back. Today, it’s touched more than 177,000 nurses around the world in recognition of what they do every day: deliver high-quality, transformational cancer care.
Remember Your Passion, Your Purpose, and the Heart of Oncology Nursing
As I begin my ONS presidency, I want to acknowledge the challenges and stress we have endured the past two years, which were most likely the hardest years in our careers. We need time to grieve for loss of patients; changes in the nursing profession, including equipment and personnel shortages; and the personal things we have lost that give meaning to who we are—graduations, weddings, memorial services, vacations. It all matters.
Empower Your Nurses With Appreciation in Celebration of Oncology Nursing Month
With ONS celebrating Oncology Nursing Month throughout May and recognizing National Nurses Week from May 6–12, it’s a season for nurses everywhere. Celebrate yourself, your colleagues, and the profession by empowering the incredible nurses caring for patients across the globe.
Diversity in Nursing
To achieve health equity and improve health outcomes for diverse and marginalized racial and ethnic minorities, the nursing workforce must mirror the U.S. population. Yet despite decades of effort, the profession remains predominantly female and White. As the United States marches toward a minority majority, nursing diversity has never been a more critical objective.
I’m a Match: My Journey From Advanced Practice BMT Nurse to Stem Cell Transplant Donor
Six years ago, I signed up for the marrow registry through the German Bone Marrow Donor Center, also known as DKMS, which is an international organization that hosts stem cell registry drives. In late 2021, I received the call that I was a fully matched donor for a patient with chronic myeloid leukemia. As a hematology and oncology clinical nurse specialist, I have seen how valuable the gift of stem cells can be for a patient with hematologic disease. I didn’t think twice about completing the donation process.
ONS Members’ Patient and Nurse Wellness Programs Embody 2022 Black History Month Theme
African American nurse leaders in ONS have paved the way in eliminating cancer disparities, identifying and tackling social determinants of health, and providing Black communities with educational and clinical resources. Their initiatives embody the importance of well-being for Black healthcare professionals, patients, and members of the community—as well as the 2022 Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness.” This year’s theme brings a national emphasis not only on the important discoveries made in science and medicine by Black researchers and healthcare professionals, but also the health and wellness of Black communities across the United States.
Online and Mobile Resources Prepare Oncology Professionals for Care Delivery in All Settings
As cancer care delivery changes, oncology nurses step up to the challenge: they adapt and develop solutions to fuel the future of nursing education, certification, and practice. During the November 2021 ONS Hackathon™, launched in partnership with the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC), teams were tasked to identify methods that address issues in the delivery of cancer care and prepare the future nursing workforce to care for patients with cancer anywhere.
ONS Member Naomi Cazeau Joins Sepsis Alliance Advisory Board
In addition to her daily practice as a nurse practitioner at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, ONS member Naomi Cazeau, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP®, is using her leadership skills to make a difference in advocating for patients on a broader level. In October 2021, the Sepsis Alliance appointed her to its advisory board to help guide the organization’s mission of improving awareness and care.
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.