Volume 7, Issue 1

ONS CEO Reflects on the Meaning of a Profession

Paula Rieger, RN, MSN, CAE, FAAN

Paula Rieger, RN, MSN, CAE, FAANA “profession” can be defined as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.” When I think of the profession of oncology nursing, I think collectively of the entire body of people engaged in a calling. It is our connectivity as well as the creation of standards, guidelines, and a scientific body of knowledge to guide our practice that keeps us strong and vibrant. I was not as acutely aware of the importance of the connection between having a profession and being a part of a professional association until my graduate education. The world has changed significantly since I graduated, but ONS has remained a steadfast part of my professional life since then; I know it has for many of you as well. As the professional home for oncology nursing­—over 35,000 nurses strong—ONS cares about and works toward the betterment of our profession.

As I prepare to step down as CEO of ONS in May of 2014 and embark upon the next phase of my life, I have thought about what ONS has meant to me. We value the importance of leadership and how our professional society can help each of us to become better leaders. My volunteer work within ONS, and ultimately my role as CEO, helped me develop my leadership skills. The many leadership courses and opportunities within ONS can help all members grow and understand the greater landscape within which our work fits. In the 1990s serving on the ONS Board of Directors provided me with a larger world view outside of my place of employment and taught me the importance of making decisions that included multiple perspectives. On the Board, one is often challenged to make decisions for the overall good of the organization and the profession, not just one person or constituent group.

As a leader, it is important to recognize that the knowledge, skills, and perspectives of others are critical to success. As CEO, I work with an elected Board of Directors that represents the membership and sets the strategic direction for the organization. I have worked with many talented individuals over the past seven years who have brought passion and vision to the work. I thank them all for their service in this capacity.

ONS is a large and complex entity. We have a very knowledgeable and dedicated staff that comes to work each day to help achieve the direction set by the Board and to work with our members on a multitude of projects. Few members realize that the staff consists of association professionals in their own right who bring a distinct body of knowledge to their work. Although they could choose to work anywhere, they have chosen to come to ONS and believe strongly in our mission. I thank them all for their work and support over the years. They have taught me so much and have made me a better leader.

In closing, that brings me to you, our members and leadership group. For without you, there is no ONS. I admire what you do each day on behalf of patients. I appreciate your contributions to the organization in your leadership capacity. The healthcare landscape has experienced significant change since I left clinical practice. I have always felt enormous pride in being able to represent our members and their work through my position at ONS and hope that membership in ONS has made your job a bit easier and the world a bit better.

My parting advice is to remember how important you are to the care of patients with cancer. I would encourage you to avail yourself to leadership opportunities when and where they present themselves. Many exist within ONS, but opportunities also exist within your own workplace or within other organizations in which a nursing perspective is seen as a necessary part of making decisions and getting the work done. My best wishes to you all as we face the future together.

Volume 7, Issue 1

Oncology Nurse Navigator Core Competencies Provide Direction to Improve Care Delivery

As the field of nurse navigation continues to expand across a variety of healthcare settings, ONS remains committed to addressing the needs of oncology nurse navigators (ONNs). As part of that commitment, ONS is excited to announce the recent release of the ONS ONN Core Competencies. These competencies support the ONN in his or her work to improve the quality of care delivered to patients with cancer. They clearly define the role of the oncology nurse in navigation as well as support the growth of the role throughout the healthcare system.

Developed by a seven-member project team that included experienced ONNs from across the United States, the ONS ONN Core Competencies were devised using a multistep process building on the experiences of other ONS competency work. Field review was conducted via members of the ONS Nurse Navigator SIG and ONS members identifying their primary work function in nurse navigation, with expert review performed by leaders in the field of oncology nurse navigation.

The ONS ONN Core Competencies include the fundamental knowledge, skills, and expertise required to proficiently:

  • Participate in the care for patients with a past, current, or potential diagnosis of cancer,
  • Assist patients with cancer, families and caregivers to help overcome healthcare system barriers
  • Provide education and resources to facilitate informed decision making, timely access to quality health and psychosocial care throughout all phases of the cancer continuum.

They are aimed at novice oncology ONNs to identify the qualifications they should possess or acquire during their first one to two years in the role as well as assisting experienced practitioners in standardizing the expectations and requirements of the role. Administratively, core competencies serve as a resource for the development of position descriptions, training methods, evaluation processes, and professional development. Visit the ONS website to learn more.

  Back to top

Volume 7, Issue 1

Learn More About the New ONS/ONCC Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course

Lillian Donnelly, RN, OCN®, BSN

Do you remember sitting through your first Chemotherapy Biotherapy Course? I remember well the two long days, the stuffy classroom, and the frequent breaks that were needed just to maintain my attention and focus. The wealth of information and all the chemotherapy drugs and side effects seemed so overwhelming at the time. Well, good news—never again will you have to sit through those two days of classes.

A new ONS/ONCC Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course is being offered in 2014—totally online. I am a huge fan of online learning. I obtained my BSN online and am currently in the process of obtaining my MSN online. Online learning is convenient. I can access classes any time of day or night. I can sit at my computer in my pajamas, with a cup of coffee in my hand, and my cat on my lap all while attending a class. There is no travel time to classes, and I can attend class no matter the weather. I can do laundry and bake cookies while I am attending class. There are no distractions, no one else is talking, and I can learn in the quietness of my home.

Online learning allows me to proceed at my own pace, research any questions as they come up, and learn in smaller increments of time to facilitate absorption of the information. The course will be offered frequently throughout the year, and it is a 15-hour course to be completed over four weeks. That is less than four hours per week. This is a great opportunity for all nurses everywhere to take the course conveniently and become certified in chemotherapy and biotherapy. Register today.

  Back to top
  Back to top

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