Volume 7, Issue 4

Staying Open to Possibilities Widens Your Possible Leadership Career Paths

Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer

Margaret Barton-Burke, PhD, RN, FAANMaking a career change can be summarized by a print I have hung on my office wall for over two decades—there is no ending without a beginning. In becoming your chief executive officer (CEO), I am again facing endings and beginnings. Many colleagues and friends have asked why I chose to leave a position and place that I loved. The answer is complex, but one factor is that ONS has been an organization that has given me opportunities to develop my leadership abilities over many years.  Like you, I have served in numerous volunteer capacities at the local and national level within ONS and gained wonderful friendships. When the CEO position became available, I saw an opportunity to serve ONS in yet another capacity, and I am honored that the Board offered me the position.

Early in my career, I learned to be open to possibilities. I once worked with a hospital administrator who had a very clear career progression mapped out—so many years as chief operating officer, then CEO of a small to medium hospital, then CEO of a larger hospital. Before I lost contact with him, he was well on the path he mapped. That, however, has not been my approach to my career as I have been able to move from clinical to managerial to clinical to administrative to education and now association administration positions. And, I have been privileged to work outside the United States, in Switzerland and Canada. We are fortunate to have chosen nursing as our profession because it offers so many paths that originate from the foundation of being a nurse.

Much is happening in nursing and health care today, and we need strong nurse leaders in all sectors of the healthcare environment. You represent a valuable leadership resource for ONS. Like me, many of you may have come to your leadership position by being open to possibilities. I know some of your personally and look forward to meeting more of you. I want to challenge you with a specific leadership responsibility: to mentor emerging leaders in your communities and promote their involvement with ONS. We are a highly respected organization because of the work of generations of ONS leaders and will continue to be so as we pass the leadership torch to those we develop.

Thank you for your commitment to ONS.  I invite you to join me in new beginnings.


Volume 7, Issue 4

Put Your Chapter or SIG Project Ideas Into Motion

The ONS/Lilly Oncology Advancing Patient Care Project is offering stipends of up to $5,000 to nurses who are ready to put their project ideas into motion. If you have a project in mind that promotes the professional development of nurses, quality patient care, or nursing leadership development, visit www.ons.org/LillyProject to learn more on how to apply for funding. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis.

Need a little inspiration to get you started? Check out a couple of the projects below that have already received funding through this program.

Continuing Education Programs

  • Plan an Educational Chapter Event
  • Our chapter presented an educational program on medication adherence for patients prescribed oral chemotherapy. The grant allowed us to support the speaker’s travel and obtain continuing nursing education credit for nurses attending this program. As cancer treatment continues to change, all nurses need to know about this important topic. This informative presentation provided evidence-based practice recommendations to assess and assist patients to remain adherent to their oral chemotherapy treatment plans.

    Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN
    Greater Pittsburgh Chapter

  • Hold an All-Day Seminar for Your Unit
  • The University of Virginia Cancer Center presented an all-day seminar on survivorship issues. We were able to get a nationally recognized expert in survivorship as our keynote speaker and we also tapped into our local experts to share their expertise as well. In addition to the clinical expertise from the day itself, the planning and executing of a grant-supported educational offering was a great experience for me and our planning committee.

    Adrienne Banavage, MSN, RN, OCN®
    University of Virginia Health System

Community Outreach

  • Conduct a Service Project to Improve Education for Nurses in Rural Areas
  • Our chapter is working to support the educational needs of nurses caring for cancer patients across the country in Navajo reservations. We learned that the healthcare in the Navajo reservations in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah is supported solely by federal government grants. When the money runs out, that is it. There are no oncologists on the reservation, and therefore, the nurses and CNAs can only do supportive care when the patients are being treated. Our chapter, along with three others in the greater Philadelphia area, is working to improve the nursing resources available to the nurses on the reservation.

    Rosemarie Tucci, RN, MSN, AOCN®
    Penns Woods Chapter

Grab some colleagues and a conference room and decide how you can best use this funding. Submit your application anytime, as they are reviewed monthly. Acceptance is based on each applicant’s description of how the activity is expected to improve quality patient care and/or oncology nursing leadership, including anticipated outcomes.

Apply today to put your ideas into action. Visit www.ons.org/LillyProject for full information.

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Volume 7, Issue 4

Regional Conference Brings Palliative Care to the Forefront

Palliative care is so much more than end-of-life care—and on November 15 in Phoenix, AZ, ONS is uniting oncology nursing leaders to prove it. We encourage you join us or spread the word about Emerging Trends in Palliative Care, an all-day conference that demonstrates how palliative care principles are applicable from diagnosis on.

Because oncology nurses work closely with patients to manage their symptoms, they are often the ones leading the charge for palliative care. Our regional conference will help them advocate for the incorporation of palliative care early in the treatment plan and to educate their patients on its benefits.

Emerging Trends in Palliative Care uniquely applies palliative care principles to symptom management, so every nurse has something learn. The conference also offers participants 6.25 contact hours of CNE.
Here’s a look at the sessions and the world-class speakers behind them.

Keynote Address: The State of Palliative Care
Jeannine Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, an oncology clinical nurse specialist, pain consultant, and nurse scientist for Billings Clinic in Montana. Brant was recently appointed to a National Cancer Institute executive committee to oversee palliative care in the Middle East.

Updates in Pain
Jeannine Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®

Care of the Patient With Nausea and Vomiting
Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN®, an advanced practice nurse for the UCLA Santa Monica Solid Oncology Program.

Updates in Dyspnea
Debra Heidrich, MSN, RN, ACHPN, AOCN®, a palliative care clinical nurse specialist in Cincinanati, OH and a consultant to individuals and healthcare organizations on hospice care, palliative care, and pain management.
Updates in Anxiety and Depression
Debra Heidrich, MSN, RN, ACHPN, AOCN®

Bring It Back to the Patients: A Panel Discussion
Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN®, Jeannine Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, and Debra Heidrich, MSN, RN, ACHPN, AOCN®

Breaking the Barrier on Physical Activity and Fatigue
Katrina Fetter, RN, BSN, OCN®, an oncology nurse in Lancaster General Hospital’s inpatient unit and an interim nurse manager for the heart failure unit.

Nutrition in Patients With Cancer: It Does Make a Difference
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in cancer nutrition, chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and health and wellness.

Please join us November 15 in Phoenix!

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Volume 7, Issue 4

ONS Chapter and SIG Leaders Find Camaraderie at Largest-Ever Leadership Weekend

More than 320 chapter officers and 30 SIG leaders attended this year’s annual Leadership Workshop over the summer in Pittsburgh, PA, making the 2014 workshop the largest in ONS history. Participants from all 50 states descended on the beautiful Sheraton Station Square Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, representing more than 220 chapters and 23 SIGs. Attendees learned the latest in leadership development and chapter and SIG management strategies and, of course, networked with their fellow nurses.

SIG leaders traded project and publication ideas in various group discussions and learned the basics of running a SIG, goal writing, planned for Congress, and got to know their fellow attendees. The SIG and Chapter leaders also combined for many sessions to form a large, enthusiastic group of amazing oncology nurses. The group was treated to a great Friday night welcome dinner that featured a unique and fun drum circle activity that engaged and energized the crowd.  

On Saturday morning, the Chapter workshop moved into high gear with the return of Mark Levin, the keynote presenter of The Gift of Leadership. Levin’s half-day presentation was part of a solid day of leadership development, new ideas, and best practices. In the afternoon, all four ONS corporations were featured during the workshop general session and a spirited Town Hall session.

The Chapter Leadership Workshop wrapped up on Sunday with a series of six breakout sessions where the attendees could choose from a variety of presentations based on their own chapter’s interests and needs. 

Carrie Riccobono, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, OCN, from the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter sums up the event perfectly, “leadership weekend is a time to connect with others across the US and reinvigorate our chapters and our purpose. Common struggles are shared and constant collaboration with others is very meaningful. Most importantly, we share a vision of the power of oncology nursing and our role and commitment to our chapters and patients to keep within the vision and mission of ONS. Oncology nursing rocks!”

Thanks to all who attended and made this the largest and best-ever Leadership Workshop. Mark your calendars for next year’s Leadership Weekend to be held in Pittsburgh, PA, July 31–August 2, 2015.

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Volume 7, Issue 4

ONS Foundation Encourages Leadership Growth Through Scholarships and Awards

Take a moment and think back to a point in your life where people have gone out of their way to share their wisdom and experiences with you. These special individuals, who care above and beyond themselves, are ensuring that the legacy of oncology nursing continues as it has for so many years before us.

Thankfully, oncology nursing has no shortage of these mentors who are committed to passing along the highs (and lows) of what the future leaders of the oncology nursing world experience.  The ONS Foundation supports the development of leadership skills as one of its three main pillars (along with education and research) tied to its mission. Leadership development opportunities, as funded through the ONS Foundation, recognize the importance of being a leader for the patients you care for, your colleagues, or even in your healthcare community.

Take the Connie Henke Yarbo Excellence in Cancer Nursing Mentorship Award, for example.  This major award celebrates an oncology nurse who goes above and beyond the regular responsibilities of work to provide mentorship of others in the practice of oncology nursing in the academic, clinical, or research setting. In 2014, Nancy Houlihan, RN, MA, AOCN®, of New York, NY, was awarded this prestigious honor in recognition of her efforts in mentorship of her fellow oncology nurses.

Oncology nurses who want to increase their leadership skills can also apply for a Leadership Development Online Course Scholarship. This scholarship offers recipients $100 toward registration costs. And, if you are a current ONS chapter board or committee member, you can apply for the Sandy Purl Mentorship Scholarship through the ONS Foundation. This exciting award provides up to $1,000 in support for the recipient to attend the annual ONS Leadership Workshop. We’re proud to recognize Kelly Bass, RN, BSN, OCN®, from San Diego, CA as the 2014 Sandy Purl Mentorship Scholarship recipient.

The advancement of oncology nursing is not only propelled by the ONS Foundation, but more importantly, by you, the oncology nurse. From mentorship to leadership, the future is bright. Learn more about ONS Foundation leadership awards and show your support for these initiatives with a donation.

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