Volume 6, Issue 2

Developing Oncology Nurse Leaders

ONS President Mary M. Gullatte, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, AOCN®, FAAN

At present, ONS has more than 35,000 members. This number represents about one third of the oncology nurses actively caring for patients with cancer in the United States. Given the current environmental imperatives of a rapidly changing healthcare system and the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing report, it will take a wide variety of nurse leaders to help shape the future of health care and the nursing profession.

ONS’s mission is to promote excellence in oncology nursing and quality cancer care. The pursuit of knowledge and lifelong learning is a cornerstone in the foundation of who we are as oncology nurses. Inherent in those two key principles is nursing leadership. Leadership is a core pillar within the ONS Strategic Plan to help us achieve our mission. To this end, ONS launched a Leadership Development online course in 2012. This eight-week online course has a robust theory and practice curriculum designed to prepare and develop oncology nurses for the next level of leadership; across three transition levels of individual, group, and/or governance. In addition, the ONS Leadership Competencies were released in early November 2012. These evidence-based competencies, which include five domains (personal mastery, vision, knowledge, interpersonal effectiveness, and systems thinking), can guide the oncology nurse across all disciplines and levels of practice.

My presidential platform for 2012–2014 is “Leading From the Future.” This concept is aimed at designing a visionary pathway for current and emerging oncology nurse leaders with a desire and passion to forge and strengthen our oncology nursing future one leader at a time. Find out more about this vision at the opening ceremony on April 25 at the upcoming ONS 38th Annual Congress in Washington, DC, April 23–28, 2013. All members attending the opening ceremony will receive a special leadership gift at the close of the session; so don’t miss it! Be sure to arrive early for the leadership lineup kick off on April 23 with the strategically designed oncology care advocacy Hill Day, during which nurse leaders will meet with their legislative representatives to discuss key issues of importance to oncology nurses.

ONS is on a continuous journey to provide high-quality and diverse leadership development opportunities that are accessible to all members. Every oncology nurse is a leader. What differentiates each leader is the depth of knowledge, skill, scope, and style of leadership. It is time that you take your place at the leader table and help shape the future of our profession and practice as oncology nurses.


Volume 6, Issue 2

Expand Your Leadership Skills at Congress

We hope to see you in Washington, DC, this spring at the ONS 38th Annual Congress! If you plan to come a bit early and stay for the full conference, you’ll have many chances to build on your leadership skills.

Start with Hill Day on April 23. Spend the morning developing your advocacy skills through educational sessions held on Capitol Hill, enjoy a luncheon lecture by Dr. Patricia Grady, Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, and then visit the legislators representing you: at your home, in your state. The day wraps up with an evening reception before returning to the convention center.

If you arrive in time for a Pre-Congress session on April 24, consider joining the ONS Nominating Committee, From Bedside to the Boardroom: Navigating Your Pathway to Leadership You’ll do a self-assessment with the ONS Leadership Competencies prior to arriving. Lectures will provide examples of the competencies in practice. Each participant will formulate a personal leadership development plan while attending this interactive session.

Maybe you’re taking on a new role at work? Entering the role of manager for the first time? Consider Nursing Leadership and Management Skills; a Pre-Congress session that will provide resources addressing the challenges new managers face.

Once Congress starts, enhance your skills in clinical leadership, with topics building on survivorship, screening, new drugs, patient education, billing, and so much more. Attend a podium session on Leadership in Action: Moving Cancer Forward with topics addressing specific leadership issues. Help educate your colleagues and patients by attending Patient Care in the Trenches: Oncology Navigation and the Affordable Care Act, in which you’ll learn about the effect of the Affordable Care Act on a complex population of patients with cancer.

Between sessions, and during SIG meetings, network with colleagues, visit the ONS Booth, and learn about ways you can become more involved in your specialty.
We hope you’ll take advantage of Congress’s many opportunities to grow as a leader!

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Volume 6, Issue 2

New Universal Chapter Membership Will Begin on July 1

ONS is hard at work implementing the new universal chapter membership model, which has an anticipated launch date of July 1. As an ONS chapter leader, you likely have questions about how the changes will impact your chapter specifically. Here’s what you need to know.

Dues and Revenue
Based on ONS’s research, most chapters will see a doubling or tripling of their membership. However, increased dues revenue will help you continue to provide programming to your larger chapter membership. Beginning July 1, all ONS members will pay $10 as part of their membership dues to belong to their local chapter, and chapters will receive that full amount. So even if your chapter’s previous dues charges were higher than $10, your increased membership numbers will make up the difference. For example, if your chapter currently has 50 members and you currently charge $20 for dues, your annual dues revenue is $1,000. With a two-thirds increase to 150 members paying $10, your annual dues revenue will also increase to $1,500. In addition, although you may not charge chapter members additional dues, you may charge for items such as meal costs. ONS’s research has shown that most chapters that charge higher dues do so to help cover members’ meals at dinner programs. Under the new model, you may wish to have attendees pay a meal fee for dinner meetings. Chapters will receive their dues revenue from ONS as an electronic funds transfer on a quarterly basis.

Chapter Assignments and Recruitment
All ONS members who currently belong to a chapter will be grandfathered into that chapter. Beginning on July 1, any ONS members who do not currently belong to a chapter will be assigned to their closest one based on the zip code of their preferred address in ONS’s database. Existing members may change their chapter when they renew their membership. New ONS members will be able to select their preferred chapter as part of the membership application process. Any ONS member may join multiple chapters at a rate of $10 per chapter.

Even though all new and existing ONS members will belong to a chapter starting July 1, it doesn’t mean you should stop recruiting. Continue reaching out to local oncology nurses or potential associate members. When they join ONS, they will immediately join your local chapter.

Informing Your Chapter Members About the Change
Your members may have questions or concerns about the upcoming changes. What’s important to keep in mind is that because they are currently members of an ONS chapter, not much will change for them under the universal chapter membership. They’ll simply pay their chapter dues when they pay for their ONS membership instead of paying them separately to your chapter. In some cases, they may even see a decrease in the cost of their dues, depending on how much your chapter charged previously. But even though they’ll be paying less as an individual, your chapter will see higher revenues because of the increased number of members with the new model.

Increased chapter membership numbers offer an advantage to your members as well: in many cases, their local professional network will now double or triple. They’ll have more opportunities to connect with other oncology nurses in the area through your chapter, increasing their chances of meeting new colleagues, making new connections, finding a new mentor, or mentoring others themselves. Professional growth opportunities abound!

Finally, you may have some members in your chapter who also belong to one or more additional chapters. Any ONS member can continue being a member of multiple chapters; they’ll simply pay their $10 dues per chapter when they renew their ONS membership.

Although universal chapter membership is a big change, our research truly reveals that it will have a profoundly positive effect on ONS members and chapters. ONS is dedicated to supporting you and your chapter throughout this process. If you have any further questions, please direct them to chapters@ons.org.

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Volume 6, Issue 2

Post Master’s Certificate in Cancer Care

An Exciting New Educational Offering for Advanced Practitioners New to Oncology

ONS has been researching the needs of nurse practitioners (NPs) caring for patients with cancer over the past several years. Through the development of the oncology nurse practitioner (ONP) competencies in 2007, entry level competencies were established that serve as the baseline of practice upon graduation from a graduate ONP program or entry into advanced oncology practice. The educational gaps in learning needs of the ONP upon entry to cancer care were revealed in a survey done by ONS in June of 2009 and published by Rosenzweig et al. in the Oncology Nursing Forum. Respondents reported that although well prepared for foundational NP skills including history taking, physical examination skills, and patient case presentation, they felt poorly prepared for clinical practice components specific to oncology care. Although educational sessions have been held prior to the 2009 and 2010 ONS Advanced Practice Nursing Conferences to help bridge these gaps, more was needed.

Building on the previous work of prior project teams, the Post Master’s Certificate in Cancer Care Project Team has created an online course that is designed for advanced practitioners, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and clinical nurse specialists, who are new to oncology. This course is comprised of educational modules addressing the core content specific to oncology care not provided in generalist graduate programs. It is expected that someone new to oncology will take this course within the first six months in practice. Upon successful completion of the course, continuing nursing education credit will be awarded (total pending). Additional materials for the supervising physician to use with the provider for the first six months of practice will be developed in the near future and separate optional skills labs will be offered twice annually prior to ONS Congress and Connections.

The piloting process began in March 2013 with the first course anticipated to open in April 2013. Initial response and interest has been very positive! More information can be found on the ONS website. Please feel free to share this information with others who may be interested. For questions, please contact educationcourses@ons.org.

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Volume 6, Issue 2

Do You Enjoy Writing and Reporting?

Apply to Serve as an ONS Connect Contributing Editor

ONS Connect is seeking a contributing editor (CE) to serve on its editorial board. CEs work closely on many aspects of ONS Connect production, including writing and editing articles and determining publication goals, policies, and content.

Qualified applicants will have a strong background in oncology nursing; experience with newsletter or magazine writing and production; strong reporting, writing, and editing skills; daily access to email; the ability to consistently meet strict production deadlines; and the organizational, planning, and interpersonal skills necessary to learn the role and work independently. The volunteer position requires a consistent two-​​year time commitment, which includes regular writing assignments, travel to one planning meeting per year (with expenses paid by ONS), and participation in monthly conference calls. Applicants must be ONS members who are RNs.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest; current curriculum vitae; appropriate supporting materials, including writing samples; and the names of two references by April 20 to Editor Debra M. Wujcik, RN, PhD, AOCN®, via email at ONSConnectEditor@​ons.​org or fax at +1–615-341‑4309.

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