Volume 4, Issue 5

ONS Revamps Approach to Leadership Development

Paula Trahan Rieger, MSN, RN, AOCN<sup>®</sup>, FAAN, ONS Chief Executive OfficerPaula Rieger, RN, MSN, CAE, FAAN, ONS Chief Executive Officer

A frequent dinner party question might be, "If you could have dinner with a famous leader, who would you choose?" Often when we ponder the question of leadership, we tend to think of someone famous or with an important title or position. And yet, in ways large and small, each oncology nurse exhibits "leadership" each and every day. From advocating for patients to secure treatment for their symptoms, to sharing opinions on how a new treatment center should be designed, to letting your Congressional representative know your thoughts on healthcare reform–these all represent examples of your leadership.

As an organization, ONS values the leadership its members exhibit and has invested in helping members to enhance their leadership skills. The ONS Leadership Development Institute (LDI) was held annually from 1998–2010. Although the program was well received, the number of nurses participating was limited to a small number each year. In response to the current economic climate, the ONS Board of Directors and staff decided to step back and reevaluate the program, as well as define the leadership needs of the ONS membership and the organization as a whole moving forward.

Twenty nurses, staff members, and association professionals met in April 2011 for the ONS Leadership Think Tank to look at nursing leadership conceptually and to generate discussion on the needs of nursing leadership education and development. The group discussed the needs and interests among nurses in the workforce today and the vision of how leadership education and training might advance the profession into the future.

The think tank offered short- and long-term recommendations to the ONS Board of Directors for the future of leadership development through ONS. A virtual leadership education resource and webcourse are being planned and should be ready to launch as pilots shortly. The program will incorporate successful aspects of LDI plus distance-learning and flexible scheduling; it is intended to serve as a bridge between the former LDI and future programming.

ONS also will define a leadership framework. This is essential to succession planning and will incorporate leadership competencies essential to governance and nurses in practice. Many of you have served in volunteer leadership roles at the local and national levels. As an organization, we strive to build those skills and experiences that will ensure the next generation of leaders for the organization, or for our members to represent the profession at national meetings where the voice of nursing will help to shape the future of health care.

Preparing oncology nursing leaders has been part of the core work of the Society, as identified in the 2009–2012 strategic plan. In the 2012–2016 strategic plan, leadership becomes one of the pillars, with the goal of equipping members to be leaders and advocates in their workplaces, communities, and the organization. Along with the ONS Board of Directors, I am eager to see what the next evolution of leadership programs will look like at ONS.


Volume 4, Issue 5

New Changes to ONS National Elections

Nancy Houlihan, RN, MA, AOCN<sup>®</sup>, ONS Nominating Committee ChairNancy Houlihan, RN, MA, AOCN®, ONS Nominating Committee Chair

During the 2011 ONS Leadership Weekend, the ONS Nominating Committee and the ONS Board of Directors discussed the format of how the national election process takes place. We are so happy to announce that the 2012 ONS National Election will be the first electronic-only ballot.

This decision was made based on examining usage trends of the current paper ballot system, feedback from the ONS members, and trends from other associations.

We are very excited about this change and are looking forward to serving you well by providing you with a slate of very qualified leaders for our organization.

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Volume 4, Issue 5

Board Briefs Are Your Monthly Connection to ONS Board Updates

In response to your feedback, the ONS Board of Directors has increased the frequency of its Board Briefs columns to monthly. This will improve the timeliness of Board communications and keep you updated on Board decisions and discussions.

The new frequency of Board Briefs will allow the Board to update you after each month's meeting or conference call. The column offers a quick snapshot of the discussions and decisions the Board made that month, with a link to the full meeting minutes to learn more.

To access Board Briefs, watch for the monthly announcement in your Connect Weekly e-newsletter or visit and bookmark the ONS Connect Web site at www.onsconnect.org/board-briefs. Questions or comments posted on any of the Board Briefs columns will be directed to the ONS Board or staff leadership for a response.

This is one of many new ways that the ONS Board is looking to communicate with ONS leader groups and the membership at large, all with the goal of keeping you updated about what your Board is doing for you. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

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Volume 4, Issue 5

Update on the Status of MyONS Community

Many of you have learned about the new MyONS Community that ONS is developing to expand and replace the current virtual communities that the ONS special interest groups (SIGs) and chapters have used over the past eight years. Because you are stakeholders in this project, the ONS leadership wanted to give you an update on where MyONS stands today.

The community has been built and is working. If you attended Mentorship/Leadership Weekend, you may have seen a presentation about the community or viewed a hands-on demonstration. However, the vendor ONS partnered with on the development has encountered a problem importing the Society's data. The problem has been compounded by the size and unique customization of the ONS membership database, as well as the fact that the vendor was bought by a different company in August and assigned new staff to the ONS account. The vendor is working diligently on the problem and hopes to have a solution soon. Unfortunately, until the import problem is fixed, ONS is unable to release a community that is fully functional for your SIG's or chapter's needs.

In the meantime, beta testing on the system will begin to help fine-tune the community before launching it to the entire membership. Here is where you can help: if you are interested in being a beta tester for your SIG's or chapter's community, please contact membership@ons.org.

Thank you for your patience throughout this process. ONS will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available.

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Volume 4, Issue 5

ONS Overhauls Position Statement Program to Better Address Current Cancer Care Environment

For the past 35 years, ONS has taken a position on a variety of issues and communicated that view through position statements or white papers. Position statements support the mission of ONS, are current and significant, and speak to the unique perspective ONS may provide on an issue. Before developing new position statements, ONS considers what the Society can realistically accomplish and what other key stakeholders may need to be considered as cosponsors to the position.

During its July 2011 meeting in Pittsburgh, PA, the ONS Board of Directors conducted a thorough review of the Society's nearly 30 current position statements based on the above-mentioned criteria. The Board noted that some of the current positions no longer speak to a perspective unique to ONS, may no longer be relevant, or are now common practice. As a result, some positions will be revised, some will be combined together and retitled, and others will be archived as they currently stand, with possible key components incorporated into other positions as applicable. Those that are archived will be removed from the ONS website and no longer be considered current.

A workgroup comprised of Board and staff members is currently working to revise and combine some of the position statements. This work will require input from members with expertise in the particular topics.

Effective immediately, the following positions will be archived.

  • Use of Unlicensed Assistive Personnel in Cancer Care
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • The Human Papillomavirus Vaccine and Prevention of Cervical Cancer
  • Identification of Registered Nurses in the Workplace
  • Patient Safety

The remaining positions are either still under review or will be revised or combined as applicable. For example, the Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention of Cervical Cancer positions will be archived as currently written, but the workgroup will explore options for incorporating current issues related to prevention and early detection of cancer into other positions. The positions that are incorporated into other positions will be archived.

ONS will continue to stay abreast of current issues significant to our members and speak to the unique perspective that ONS may provide on the issue. The ONS Board will be proactive in approving positions that fall within the Society's strategic plan.

To view a list of current ONS position statements, visit www.ons.org/Publications/Positions.

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Volume 4, Issue 5

ONS Board Announces 2012-2016 Strategic Plan

After conducting a thorough scan of the oncology healthcare environment, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) developed a new five-year strategic plan, which will take effect in 2012.

The outgoing ONS Strategic Plan consisted of three pillars: advocacy, knowledge, and partnership. To address changes and evolving needs, the new 2012–2016 ONS Strategic Plan consists of four pillars: leadership, knowledge, quality, and technology. Some of the pillars have changed between the two plans because those areas of focus are now essential components of ONS's day-to-day work rather than a plan for the future. The new plan also includes ONS's vision for a desired future.

Every three years, the membership and external relationships are assessed randomly to determine how cancer and our organizational needs have changed, what the needs are now for oncology nurses and their patients, and what our visions of the future should be. This information is reviewed, generative discussions occur, and the ONS Board of Directors, with staff input, identifies key issues that need to be addressed. These issues build on strengths while building up opportunities. In addition, ONS members are surveyed regularly for feedback about trends in oncology and nursing. Some of the most prominent trends identified during this process were

  • Continued workforce shortages and changes in roles and settings
  • Changing demographics of both nurses and consumers
  • Economic pressures
  • Healthcare reform and changing regulations
  • Treatment discoveries and advances in technology.

The new plan outlines ONS's four goals related to these trends.

  • Support members to become leaders and effective cancer care advocates in their workplace, community, and the Society.
  • Be seen as the primary source for education for all nurses providing care to people with cancer, regardless of setting.
  • Develop, disseminate, and evaluate patient-centered interventions and their contribution to high-quality cancer care.
  • Be recognized as a leader in leveraging technology and help nurses to use it to collaborate and learn.

To learn more about ONS's strategic plan, visit www.ons.org/about.

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