Volume 2, Issue 4

A Leadership Moment Awaits

Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAANPaula Rieger, RN, MSN, AOCN®, FAAN, ONS Chief Executive Officer
Pittsburgh, PA

Throughout the summer and early fall, we have observed the passionate debate over healthcare reform hold the nation’s attention. As nursing leaders on the frontlines, you experience each and every day the challenges within our current system. ONS joined with others in the nursing community to dialogue with the White House on how to accurately and effectively educate the public about healthcare reform.

It was no surprise to hear the policymakers articulate, “There is no more credible source to tell the story about how the current healthcare system impacts patients than nurses.”

We were told that when nurses rose to speak in the town hall meetings held in August, all participants stopped to listen. So no matter which side of the political fence you are on, as a nurse you know and understand the compelling need for change within our current system. ONS, through our advocacy efforts, has updated the Legislative Action Center (LAC) to create a special healthcare reform update area. Our advocacy team will provide frequent updates and details on how you can take action during this key moment in healthcare reform.

Nursing’s voice must be heard as Congress seeks to develop legislation to address reform. I urge you to visit the LAC often to review strategies on how to communicate with your legislators and the media and for updates and links to credible non-partisan Web sites to keep you updated. I also urge those of you using new social media tools to post to the ONS Re:Connect Blog or access our Facebook and Twitter pages. Let’s take action to make sure oncology nurses’ voices are heard!

I look forward to seeing you in Tampa, FL, at our Institutes of Learning and Advanced Practice Nursing conferences. Come discuss healthcare reform, and attend the in-depth learning opportunities the planning teams have created for you.


Volume 2, Issue 4

Farewell to Angie Stengel

Angie StengelAfter a long and productive tenure at ONS headquarters, Angie Stengel, MS, CAE, director of membership and leadership, recently accepted the position of chief operating officer for the Girls Scouts of America – Western Pennsylvania. Growing up as a Girl Scout, Angie brings years of successful association management experience to an organization she truly loves.

Under Angie’s leadership, the ONS membership grew from 28,000 to more than 37,000. Angie was instrumental in developing ONS’s various mentoring programs, including the ONS Job Shadowing program, which recognizes the importance of staff getting to see first-hand what our members do in their day-to-day lives. Her active involvement in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) included getting ONS involved in several research projects, including Decision to Join and Decision to Volunteer. Both of these projects provided data and insight that has been invaluable in guiding ONS’s membership recruitment and retention efforts.

Angie always has looked out for the “silent majority” of members working in staff nurse positions. Earlier this year, Angie spearheaded the effort to implement the new “Honor Someone Special” recognition program that provides patients and coworkers the opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of those who do their jobs very well and don’t ask for any special accolades in return. To date, over 500 “Honor Someone Special” nominations have been submitted, far surpassing ONS’s expectations.

Being a visionary is one of Angie’s enduring strengths. She developed, designed, and implemented numerous “outside-of-the-box” programs and services for ONS members, all created with the knowledge that the new programs would increase the value of ONS to its members. These programs include a nurse ambassador program, online mentoring programs, innovative voting systems for the election process, incorporating and embracing inclusiveness initiatives with respect to international members, and much more. She also helped to implement, facilitate, and sustain the Leadership Development Institute program, designed for oncology nurses from all practice settings who want to increase their understanding of topics and skills related to leadership. Angie understood the importance of relationship building as a way to increase volunteerism and the development of future member leaders. But perhaps most of all, Angie always will be known for the many friendships she’s made over the years, both at the ONS office and with members.

The ONS leadership and staff all wish Angie well in her new position, and she truly will be missed. During this transition, feel free to contact the Membership Team for inquiries and assistance.

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Volume 2, Issue 4

New ONS Membership Category for Oncology Nurses Around the World!

Globalization is an inevitable and necessary movement in the healthcare industry. Although nurses in many countries are very resourceful and innovative when caring for patients with cancer, not all nurses have access to cancer-specific training or research-driven practice guidelines.

Recognizing the value of evidence-based resources and education for nurses worldwide, as well as the importance of knowledge-sharing and diversity of thought among ONS members, ONS is pleased to offer the “International Tiered” membership category to nurses from low-income economy to upper-middle-income economy countries (as defined by the World Bank). Nurses from these countries will pay a membership price commensurate with their economic standing on the World Bank Index. International Tiered members will receive online access to ONS journals, as well as member pricing on publications, products, and educational programs.

This new membership category does not include the active member benefits such as voting privileges, holding office, and chapter involvement. All international members still can select to purchase an active membership if they wish to receive these benefits.

ONS, as a leader in the transformation of cancer care, has an opportunity to demonstrate its core values of stewardship, excellence, and inclusiveness by ensuring quality cancer care on a global level. Please promote this membership category to your international colleagues and contacts, and e-mail the ONS Membership Team for more information!

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Volume 2, Issue 4

Registration Open for Institutes of Learning and Advanced Practice Nursing Conference

Gain new skills you can apply immediately to your practice at the ONS 10th Annual Institutes of Learning and the Advanced Practice Nursing Conference this November in Tampa, FL. Don’t miss this chance to get hands-on, interactive education that will equip you to provide even better cancer care. You’ll also make professional connections that will serve you for years to come. Register today!

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Volume 2, Issue 4

Breast Care Certification Off to a Great Start

Interest is strong in the certified breast care nurse (CBCN™) examination, the newest certification program offered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC). More than 400 nurses applied to take the CBCN™ examination in 2009, the first year for CBCN™ testing. As of August 22, 2009, 234 nurses had earned the CBCN™ credential. That number is expected to grow significantly after the final test results are reported for the August and November 2009 test sessions.

The CBCN™ examination is the only breast care certification program that is exclusively for registered nurses. It covers the entire spectrum of breast care nursing, including breast health, diagnosis and staging, treatment modalities, symptom management, psychosocial and spiritual issues, survivorship, end of life care, and professional performance and education. The test consists of 165 multiple choice items, which are administered during a three-hour testing session.

If you work with nurses who provide breast care—from prevention and detection through diagnosis and treatment to survivorship and end-of-life care—encourage them to consider obtaining the CBCN™ credential. Learn more about CBCN™ certification at www.oncc.org.

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Volume 2, Issue 4

ONS and Social Media—Staying Connected!

Sean Pieszak, BA, PPT Copy Editor
Pittsburgh, PA

Do you tweet? Are you on someone’s friend list? Have you made a connection with a co-worker? Those are all phrases one might hear in the realm of social media, a realm that ONS is actively involved in through the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and various other online tools. Through this new medium, ONS is reaching members and non-members and sharing content, creating discussions, and listening to your feedback.

The social media efforts at ONS have been bolstered in the past few months by the addition of numerous chapter and SIG pages on Facebook. The summer issue of ONS Leadership Update contained an article by Tippy Spratt of Houston and Elizabeth Schwerm of Metro Minnesota detailing the creation of their chapter Facebook pages. Since that publication, 11 additional chapters (bringing the grand total to 20) and six SIGs have formed a presence on Facebook.

ONS’s own Facebook page has seen rapid growth during that time as well. Since mid-July, the amount of “fans” has risen from 220 to well over 600 by the end of August. Much of this growth may be from the increased interest generated by the creation of chapter and SIG pages, as well as the publication of articles and links to the site in e-newsletters. The ONS Facebook page’s purpose is to post updates about ONS events, highlight upcoming educational opportunities, and create a discussion forum for members and non-members.

In addition, the use of Twitter as a marketing tool has shown some positive results. For the month of July, Twitter generated 586 clicks on ONS content. That content is broken down into four subcategories: the ONS Web site (132 clicks); the online version of ONS Connect (95 clicks); the RE:Connect blog (55 clicks); and other ONS social media content, such as information on ONSEdge.com and YouTube videos (304 clicks).

In the coming months, look for the launch of a CrowdVine site as a companion to the Institutes of Learning and Advance Practice Nursing conferences in Tampa this November. CrowdVine is an interactive platform that lets attendees make connections before they leave for the conference. Nurses can find and contact other nurses who have similar professional work settings, educational backgrounds, or who are acquaintances from previous national conferences. CrowdVine also lets attendees comment on the conferences while they are happening—perhaps by posting comments about a session or starting a discussion about a topic of interest.

For more information about ONS’s social media efforts, contact Sean Pieszak. If you represent a chapter or SIG that is interested in creating a Facebook page, the Membership team has created an easy-to-use slide presentation to help you set one up. Contact Sean or Jenny Shinsky for more information on the slideshow.

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Volume 2, Issue 4

Virtual Community Best Practices

Jenny Shinsky, BS, Membership Specialist
Pittsburgh, PA

A great deal of information is available that chapters and SIGs can place on their Virtual Communities (VCs) to help keep members informed. More members participate when VCs are updated on a regular basis. Here are some ideas for what to put on your VC.

  • Advertisements for job postings (Chapters can charge a fee for the listing of job announcements. Please view the Advertising Recommendations.)
  • Announcements
  • Application to join chapter (This is important so that interested ONS members can join the chapter.)
  • Calendar (Upcoming meetings and educational seminars)
  • Community outreach (past and present)
  • Highlight a chapter or SIG leader
  • Highlight the different cancer months
  • Leadership information
  • Membership recognition
  • Minutes
  • Newsletter
  • Photos
  • Scholarship and award opportunities

To see how other chapters and SIGs have been successful with their VCs, check out the following.

For more information, contact Jenny Shinsky.
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Volume 2, Issue 4

Leadership Development Institute Offers Free Webcasts

Jenny Shinsky, BS, Membership Specialist
Pittsburgh, PA

ONS Leadership Development Institute (LDI), a three-day conference followed by a 14-month program, is designed to prepare oncology nurses to lead the transformation of cancer care at local, state, and national levels. Webcasts are produced as part of the program to meet the expressed needs of the LDI fellows, and they now are available for chapter and SIG leaders to view as well.

Participants who view an LDI Webcast in its entirety, successfully obtain an 80% or higher score on the post-test, and complete the evaluation can earn 1.0 contact hour of continuing nursing education credit. Topics archived on the LDI Virtual Community (VC) include the following.

  • Communicating Your Leadership Brand
  • Creating, Following, and Managing Budgets
  • Creative Funding
  • Health Policy Advocacy: How You as a Nursing Leader can Affect Change
  • Managing Conflict: A Key Skill Set for Leaders
  • The What? Why? and How? of Mentorship
  • Work-Life Balance and Effectiveness...Stop Letting Time Manage You

To take advantage of these free Webinars, visit the LDI VC. The contact hours earned from this educational opportunity qualify for initial oncology nursing certification and renewal via ONC-PRO. Visit www.oncc.org for complete details on oncology nursing certification.

If you have never participated in LDI, please consider applying for this popular and rewarding personal and professional growth opportunity. You may e-mail the ONS Membership Team with any questions.
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Volume 2, Issue 4

ONS Mentoring Program

Here at the ONS National Office, our goal is to help each and every member become the best oncology nurse that he or she can be. That is why the ONS Mentoring Program was created. The mentoring program is designed to give members the ability to learn and grow in the oncology field through contact with each other.

Mentees have the privilege of being taught a certain skill by an experienced and respected nurse in whose footsteps it would be great to follow.

Advantages to Mentees

  • Advance in your career.
  • Gain knowledge and experience.
  • Network with other nurses.

Becoming a mentor to a newer oncology nurse is the best way to demonstrate the skills and talent that make you the oncology nurse you are today.

Advantages to Mentors

  • Enhance your self-esteem
  • Increase the commitment to your own career
  • Leave a legacy

ONS uses a tool called Open Mentoring® to facilitate the mentoring program. This tool makes it easy to volunteer in the program. To access the tool and enter your biography, go to their Web site.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact membership@ons.org.
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Volume 2, Issue 4

Chapter Anniversary Celebrations

We asked our chapter presidents to tell us how their chapters have celebrated chapter anniversary milestones. Here is a sample of what we heard.

Darryl Somayaji, MSN, RN, CCRC, president, Western New York ONS Chapter
We celebrated our 25th anniversary last year in 2008. We planned a number of events for the chapter members to celebrate throughout the year. We posted events on the Web site with a 25th anniversary logo that we had made into a pin. You can't see it in the picture, but the pin has the name of the chapter with the years at the bottom.

Here is a list of events that our "25th Anniversary Committee" planned and carried out for us.

January: Pins were distributed to each member honoring the chapter's 25th year. We continued to distribute to new members as they joined the chapter.

June: We held a recognition and dinner program—this dinner coincided with our chapter Award for Excellence. We invited past chapter presidents and Award for Excellence recipients to the celebration. We also had on display our original charter!

October: We invited Georgia Decker, RN, MS, CS-ANP, AOCN®, to visit with our members in their workplaces. It was such an honor to have Georgia here with us in Western New York. Georgia met with members in the community healthcare institutions and community practices including Roswell Park Cancer Institute. We had a luncheon and dinner reception with Georgia at Roswell, and she did a presentation on the future for oncology nurses.

November: We had a wellness morning called "Caring for Myself Healthy Retreat." This event was free to our members. We had a yoga session, reflexology therapy, massage therapy, and a drumming session. The drumming was a new experience for most of us. This session was led by a drum therapist. Everyone participated in contributing to the drumming experience and musical sounds with different types of drums and instruments. It was truly therapeutic!

Beth Kos, RN, BSN, OCN®, president, Metro Omaha ONS Chapter
We had our 25th anniversary party this summer and combined it with our scholarship awards. We invited all members and the charter members by invitation to a special brunch to honor them and thank them for starting our chapter. It was well received, and several people were able to touch base with old friends and had a great time!

Paula Morton, RN, OCN®, Palm Beach Area ONS Chapter president and 2009 Tri-County Meeting Chairperson
Palm Beach Area Chapter does not have an anniversary celebration, but that is a great idea! I'll pass that along to our current board, and we can discuss our ideas.

Our chapter currently is entering the final three months of planning and preparing for the 14th annual Tri-County ONS meeting. Our chapter rotates hosting this annual event with Miami-Dade and Broward Chapters, which comprise the majority of what is known as the eastern portion of South Florida.

Oncology Nurses attend the brunch or luncheon meeting during which we network with our colleagues, co-workers, and chapter members. It is a fun day for us as we celebrate who we are as professionals in oncology. This year, we will hear Bobbie Staten give her famous "Batteries Not Included" talk that she gave at the ONCC Recognition Breakfast in Boston, MA, in 2006.

As chapter president, I am leading a committee that is energetic, selfless, dedicated, and committed to providing a wonderful day to all who attend. We will come away refreshed after laughing for an hour at Bobbie's wonderful sense of humor and wisdom with our inner "batteries" recharged. I felt even more committed to aspiring to be the best I could be after hearing her in Boston. It is my pleasure to be able to bring her to our event in October for all to enjoy as I did then.

After time for networking and socializing, we'll have a brief meeting. We have had two unfortunate and untimely deaths of important members of our group recently, and they will be remembered. We will collect money in their memory to donate to the ONS Foundation. Each chapter will be recognized, and their officers will be introduced. The committee members will be recognized and thanked for their many hours of volunteer work to make the event possible. We'll have a wonderful lunch while we hear Bobbie speak.

Over the years, we "old timers", who have been to many annual Tri-County meetings, all appreciate the opportunity to meet the members of the other chapters. The geographical area spans over 100 miles along the Atlantic Ocean so this event brings us closer together as each chapter is represented in the planning and execution of the event. We can put faces to names and talk face-to-face with people we communicate with only over the phone or by email. We are always sad when it is over and must wait another year to do it again.
Although not an anniversary, per se, it is an annual event that is fondly anticipated and well attended every year. I am enjoying myself immensely in participating in this event.

Bonnie Wivell, MS, RN, OCN®, president, Metro Denver ONS Chapter
I don't know if the Metro Denver chapter ever has celebrated an anniversary milestone. However, I did announce our 25th anniversary at a dinner meeting and shared the certificate we received with those in attendance.

Fran Cecere, RN, MS, CNS, AOCN®, president, Northern Virginia ONS Chapter
Last year, we celebrated our 25th anniversary. We had a dinner and invited all past presidents to attend. We made a memory book in which past presidents and anyone else could write a memory about what happened when they were in office. We made a poster listing all the past officers and the year(s) they served. We made another poster about what had happened throughout the years in medicine which had an affect on oncology. We had a delicious and beautiful cake and gave out flowers. We had pins made with our new logo and the chapter members were pinned during the celebration. We also gave out many door prizes, had short speeches in which past presidents talked about their time in office, and took pictures. Then, we put an article in our newsletter about the event.

Amy Voris, MS, AOCN®, CNS, president, Cincinnati Tristate ONS Chapter
The Cincinnati Tristate Chapter of ONS held a 20th Anniversary celebration on October 6, 2007. Approximately 50 people attendedthe lovely dinner boat cruise down the Ohio River. We obtained sponsorship not only from drug companies but also our local hospitals and doctors’ offices as their nurses were the beneficiaries of the celebration. It was a beautiful fall night, music was played on the boat, and many of our original founding members were present. Door prizes of items donated by various local merchants were given away as well as a goody bag of items donated by our drug representatives and other agencies. It was a great time for all.

Sheilah Kittle, RN, OCN®, president, Greater Mohawk Valley ONS Chapter
We are currently brain-storming. We have difficulty getting everyone together during the summer with vacation schedules. We wanted to have a big chapter reunion with all of our past members or donate some money in honor of our 25-year celebration to our local hospice and palliative care unit or to our end-of-life not for profit agency, The Abraham House. We sent out ballots to our members to see where their interests lie, and we are awaiting results. We also asked for other suggestions. I will keep you posted as soon as we tally our results. It is our honor as a small chapter to still be involved and dedicated to our patients after all these years!

Francisco Conde, APRN, PhD, AOCNS®, president, Hawaii (Oahu) ONS Chapter
This year, our chapter is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and we are planning to have a chapter picnic in September.

Janet Wesemann, RN, MS, OCN®, president, Northern Fox Valley (IL) ONS Chapter
Several years ago, the Northern Fox Valley Chapter celebrated its 10th anniversary. Each former president wrote something about the chapter during their tenure, and I think we took a picture of the past presidents. We also had a dinner meeting to talk about the anniversary.

Peggy S. Mueller, MS, RN, OCN®, president, Greater Los Angeles ONS Chapter
We had our 25th anniversary last year. To celebrate, we had a meeting during which we had an ongoing slide show of pictures from previous chapter events. We also made photo albums and scrapbooks, which we placed on a table for members to view at the meeting, and we celebrated our commitment to oncology nursing!

Margaret Rhoads, RN, BSN, president, Dallas ONS Chapter
In January 2008, the Dallas Chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary. The chapter held a celebratory dinner which was free for all active chapter members—Guests attended for a nominal fee. The chapter collaborated with our supportive local vendors to assist with costs. The vendors were given an opportunity to exhibit and network with members.

Chapter leadership presented a 20-minute slideshow  complete with soundtrack of snapshots retrieved from 25 years of archives (we had this professionally developed)—there was much oohing, ahing, and laughter at haircuts as you can imagine—all past presidents in attendance were recognized and presented with a DVD copy of the slide show.

We invited one of our founding chapter members who has served nationally for ONS and is recognized as a leader in oncology nursing as our keynote speaker. She presented us with a great interactive discussion of where we have been as a profession and where we can plan to go. She ended the presentation with an open discussion with the chapter members about what "we have done right." It was a wonderful presentation.

This event was extremely well attended, and we received a significant amount of positive feedback from the members and vendors.

Mary Redman, RN, OCN®, president, Delaware Diamond ONS Chapter
The Delaware Diamond Chapter of ONS is planning a program dinner in September for our 20th Anniversary celebration—"Celebrating the Past to Build the Future." Our program will focus on celebrating oncology nurses, recruiting new members, and transforming members to leaders. Our speaker will talk about the "Art of Exceptional Performance." We have contacted our chapter’s founding members to participate in this event. Chapter memorabilia will be displayed, members will provide a demonstration about the Virtual Community and ONS resources. A special memento chapter pin will be provided to each person completing an evaluation.

Terri Yannaco, RN, EdD, president, New York City ONS Chapter
The following lists how we celebrated.

  • All previous chapter presidents attended.
  • Attached link to Pay Pal for easy payment
  • Key note speaker past president discussed our history and progress to date of chapter
  • Posted digital pictures link on our VC following event
  • Secured Penn Club NYC
  • Sent Evites

Paula Franson, MS, RN, AOCN®, president, Chicago ONS Chapter
Our 25th anniversary was a milestone for the Chicago Chapter. We not only celebrated our 25th, but we had pearl Moore as the guest speaker. We celebrated her with songs, had the trivia wheel going, had a 25th anniversary pin made, and created a 25th anniversary booklet in which all of the past presidents commented on their terms in office.

We  have pictures of the celebration on our chapter’s Virtual Community, and captured a picture of all the past CCONS presidents with Pearl!

Lisa F. Cull, MSN, BS, RN, OCN®, president, Central Connecticut ONS Chapter
The Central Connecticut ONS (CCONS) Chapter celebrated its 25th Anniversary in fall 2008. The past CCONS presidents were invited to attend a special program. A brochure was created listing all of the prior presidents. Seeing the past presidents made the occasion very special.

Carina McCauley, RN, OCN®, president, Northern Vermont ONS Chapter
We at the Northern Vermont Chapter of ONS are in the process of planning our 10th anniversary party! We are going to be holding it at a local restaurant that overlooks beautiful Lake Champlain. The event will take place on Saturday, September 19th from 5–8 pm (in hopes of catching the peaks during the sunset!). We will enjoy an evening of socializing, networking, and honoring our past presidents and accomplishments. The details are still in the works. Our hope is to have a lot of fun!

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ONS Leadership Update is a quarterly e-newsletter published by the
Oncology Nursing Society