Volume 2, Issue 2, September 2011
Coordinator's Message

Lori McMullen, RN, MSN, OCN®
Ewing, NJ

Our first official annual SIG Planning/Networking meeting at Congress was very successful, and many ideas were generated as a result (the minutes can be found on our Virtual Community [VC]). We used the Nurse Navigator Role Delineation Survey (see further comments later in this article) as a spring board for group discussion. Issues such as certification, competencies, and evidence-based research proving the value of nurse navigation were introduced by members as topics of interest.

The Nurse Navigator Role Delineation survey, sponsored by ONS, wrapped up in May. With a second distribution, we were able to accrue 330 usable responses. The data have been sent to ONS for review. Those who participated added some very interesting comments at the end of the survey. Several respondents indicated that a resource for job descriptions would be helpful. Additionally, this has been one of our Nurse Navigator SIG goals and something we could put on our VC. If you would be interested in working on a project team to make this a reality for our SIG, please e-mail me and include “Job Description Project Team” in the subject line.

As coordinator, I often am asked by our members for contact information for navigators with the same or a similar patient population. Unfortunately, I have no access to this information. Moving forward, I am going to work with ONS to develop a process that allows members of our SIG to categorize themselves by the disease they navigate. The ultimate goal is to give our members the ability to network with others who work with the same patient population via our VC. Perhaps in the future we can offer an option to be a mentor for a new navigator.

And finally, I hope you took time to read “Anticipatory Coping: Taking Control of Hair Loss,” which appeared in the June issue of Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. Marie Borsellino, RN, BSN, OCN®, CBPN-CMA, our Web administrator, is a co-author of the article. Great job Marie!

“If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”  —Jim Rohn
The Nurse Navigator SIG Newsletter is produced by members of the
Nurse Navigator SIG and ONS staff and is not a peer-reviewed publication.

Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

The Chic Side of Chemotherapy Class

Penny Daugherty, RN, MS, OCN®
Atlanta, GA

I’m a gynecologic oncology nurse navigator, so my professional life is totally female focused. Every Friday, I teach chemotherapy class to our new patients, and I continually obsess about how to soft pedal and euphemize the side effects of chemotherapy to minimize the panic that visibly wells up in their eyes as these lovely ladies envision themselves bald, fatigued, and eating with plastic forks because of the tinny taste in their mouth—assuming, of course, that they aren’t too nauseated to eat.

One day last month, I was volunteering at a hospital health fair. At the next booth was the manager of our hospital-owned boutique who gave me a very comprehensive in-service about all of its services and products for ladies. As I listened, I suddenly realized that the chemotherapy class could have a happy and feminine segue.

At our next class, I brought gift bags from the boutique that were festooned with teal ribbons and lined with tissue paper. In the bags were samples of Lindi Skin® care products, brochures about the boutique, and business cards for a practice comprised of licensed physical therapists who specialize in women’s massage and pelvic floor issues. I also included brochures and calendars from the local wellness community and some business cards from an excellent licensed acupuncturist whom I’ve worked with for many years.

As part of our chemotherapy class, we chatted about all of the items in the goody bags. In those girl-talk moments, I witnessed a lessening of the tension and a relaxation in body language. The women went from being very guarded, tightly holding their pens and paper, to a softer pose—just women, sharing and even laughing about our shared goals to look and feel our best.

I know that as an oncology nurse, it’s my responsibility to inform each patient about chemotherapy and side effects. However, the chemotherapy class is also a wonderful opportunity for these ladies to not lose sight of their beauty as individual women and to feel comfortable expressing themselves rather than apologizing for grieving over their impending hair loss.

As a nurse navigator, I ask, albeit tacitly, for each lady to give me her trust and to feel secure in sharing her fears and concerns with me. I feel like this serendipitous addition to chemotherapy class is a very healthy and positive beginning to what will be a relationship that will foster growth and positive self-awareness as the often rocky individual cancer journey is traversed.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

Nurse Navigator SIG Virtual Community

Marie Borsellino, RN, BSN, OCN®, CBPN-CMA
Sarasota, FL

My name is Marie Borsellino, RN, BSN, OCN®, CBPN-CMA, and I am a breast health navigator at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (SMHCS) in Sarasota, FL. I have been an oncology nurse for 24 years and an OCN® since 1992. Prior to my current role, I was the oncology care coordinator at SMHCS where I coordinated patients with cancer entering our outpatient center. I have been navigating patients with breast cancer exclusively since 2009. In addition to working with patients, I organize our breast care multidisciplinary conference and administer breast health screening and diagnostic grants for the uninsured and underinsured men and women in our county. I have an administrative assistant and some very dedicated volunteers to keep track of the patients referred to our program. In 2007, over 600 women were assisted through our various grant programs.

In my research for education regarding breast health and navigation, I always would visit the ONS Web site and was so delighted to find a SIG devoted to nurse navigation. I thought about it and decided that this electronically challenged nurse would take on the Web administrator role. I have felt nothing but support from the SIG leadership and ONS. How exciting it was to be at Congress and find the navigation sessions and SIG meetings full of other nurses like me looking to ONS to provide reliable and valid information.

I would like to take the opportunity now to introduce my role as Web administrator and hope that you will consider becoming involved as we develop our site. The ONS Nurse Navigator SIG Web administrator assumes leadership and accountability for the maintenance and development of the SIG’s Virtual Community (VC). The Web administrator identifies membership needs within the VC and develops new topics and features of the VC to meet those needs. New ideas are discussed with the Nurse Navigator SIG leadership at regularly scheduled teleconferences and impromptu communications as needed. At last count, our SIG membership was 1,086. Because of free unlimited subscription to ONS SIGs, our membership has soared with new members searching for educational resources and news about what is happening in this new oncology nursing specialty of nurse navigation. Nurses currently in this role are pioneers or trailblazers. You all have unique stories of how you entered this role, and for many, you had no established model to follow. Trailblazers possess unique leadership and organizational skills to create these new roles. Ladies and gentlemen, you are in a unique position to pass on valuable advice to the new navigators who are entering the field every day. We are also fortunate that we are seeing research in the literature regarding nurse navigation as well as upcoming educational opportunities provided by ONS such as the Institutes of Learning session titled “Nurse Navigation: Innovative Strategies to Enhance Program Value and Sustainability.” Two national organizations dedicated to the promotion of the nurse navigator role both have their national meetings coming up this fall. For more information, please visit the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators and National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators Web sites regarding their upcoming national meetings.

Our VC hopefully will become a link to the membership for solid resources and information. At the recent ONS Congress in Boston, MA, at the annual SIG Planning/Networking meeting, many of you voiced your interest in becoming involved. Some members said that they are willing to share their stories. Any of you who are still interested, please let me know. We would love to hear your ideas about new content that you would like to see. Please also check out our resource page on the VC, and if you know of a dynamite resource, please share. I will make sure it is added to the resource list.

Later in the newsletter, you will see the instructions needed to become a member of the ONS Nurse Navigator VC. Please follow the instructions so that you can be included in the discussions. Finally, it was wonderful to meet all of you who came to the amazing two-day nurse navigation sessions as well as our Nurse Navigator SIG meeting. I am proud to be part of this group, and if there are any further questions regarding the VC, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

Participate in National Health IT Week

Initiated in 2006 by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), National Health Information Technology (NHIT) Week has emerged as a landmark occasion for using health IT as part of the overall solution to improve America’s healthcare as a bipartisan, federally led, market driven initiative. NHIT Week 2011 will take place September 12–16. Participants—vendors, provider organizations, payers, pharmaceutical/biotech companies, government agencies, industry/professional associations, research foundations, and consumer protection groups—are working together to elevate national attention to the value of advancing health IT. As a collaborative forum, NHIT Week serves as a neutral platform upon which public and private healthcare constituents can raise awareness about the value of health IT among industry leaders and policymakers; the week will feature a variety of local and regional activities sponsored by organizations from Maine to Hawaii. In Washington, DC, events include the 10th Annual HIMSS Policy Summit, a Capitol Hill press conference, professional development seminars, and more. For more information, contact nhitweek2011@gmail.com.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

ONS Board Makes Changes to National Conference Offerings for 2012

The ONS Board of Directors approved some exciting new changes to ONS’s national conference offerings at its March 2011 meeting. These changes are in direct response to customer feedback and the changing landscape of healthcare meetings and education.

Instead of offering four national conferences as we have done for many years, ONS will move to a new model of two national conferences per year. Congress will remain as usual and will include content of interest to all nurses, along with SIG, Annual Business, and Town Hall meetings.

The fall meetings will be replaced with one national conference to address the combined audience of researchers and advanced practice nurses (APNs) who are conducting and applying evidence to the care for patients with cancer. The meeting will offer intermediate- to advanced-level clinical content with pre-conference skills workshops. Incorporating an interdisciplinary focus, the meeting additionally will target non-oncology APNs, researchers, clinical trials nurses, and graduate students. Advanced Nursing Research, Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Nurse Specialist SIG meetings, as well as a Town Hall meeting, will be included in conference programming.

These changes were made in response to feedback from members and changes in today’s professional education environment. ONS has heard from members via surveys, evaluations, and anecdotally that regional live conferences and online CNE are more appealing in the current healthcare climate. Employer-provided financial support, as well as the ability to take time off work, has been reduced or eliminated for many nurses in recent years. Additionally, attendance at ONS national conferences has remained flat or gone down over the past three years, especially at the Institutes of Learning meetings.

Marketing trends support an increased preference for more targeted programs and services that meet individualized needs. ONS also has a strategic interest in meeting the oncology-related learning needs of all nurses who care for individuals with cancer but are not oncology specialists. All of these factors led to a review of ONS’s current offerings and recommendations for changes in the personality of the various options.

“Multiple perspectives were considered in making the final decision, including the timing of both conferences, other competing meetings, and the volunteer voice,” said President Carlton G. Brown, RN, PhD, AOCN®. “The Board members made the decision based on what they felt was best for the organization moving forward.”

The 2011 conferences will remain in their current format. The 2011 Congress is scheduled for April 28–May 1 in Boston, MA, and the Institutes of Learning/APN Conferences will be held in November 2011 in Salt Lake City, UT. The above mentioned changes are scheduled to begin in 2012. The 37th ONS Annual Congress is scheduled for May 3–6, 2012, in New Orleans, LA. The new format Research APN Conference will begin in November 2012.

To learn more about ONS’s national conferences, visit our Web site. As always, to provide feedback to the ONS Board of Directors and ONS, send your comments and suggestions to suggestionbox@ons.org.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

ONS Joins the Journey Forward Survivorship Collaborative

ONS has joined forces with the survivorship group Journey Forward, which is a collaboration of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, University of California Los Angeles Cancer Survivorship Center, WellPoint, and Genentech. Journey Forward offers a free software tool designed to create customized survivorship care plans for patients.

“Nurses are key providers of education for patients through their diagnosis and treatment, so this partnership is a natural fit as we work together to communicate about the importance of survivorship care plans,” said ONS Director of Education Michele Galioto, RN, MSN.

The Survivorship Care Plan software can be downloaded from Journey Forward’s Web site. It is based on ASCO treatment summary templates and surveillance guidelines. ONS’s evidence-based guidelines, symptom management resources, and the growing collection of quality indicators will eventually be incorporated into the survivorship plans.

Galioto noted that survivorship care plans put survivors in a better position to advocate for themselves, monitor their health, and participate in decisions about their future care.

“This partnership allows us to bring valuable tools to nurses and to reach beyond our membership as we work to improve care for all patients,” she said.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011


RE:Connect is a blog written by oncology nurses on a variety of topics of interest to other nurses in the specialty, including facing day-to-day challenges at work, juggling busy lives at home, and keeping up to date with the magnitude of information available for practicing nurses. This month on RE:Connect, you’ll find discussions titled Nurses Stare Down Irene, When Our Patients Need Hope, and Balancing Evidence-Based Practice, Hope, and Cash. As a reader, join in on the conversation and connect with other oncology nurse readers by posting your own stories, tips, ideas, and suggestions in the comments section at the end of each blog post.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

Five-Minute In-Service

In the latest issue of ONS Connect, the Five-Minute In-Service takes a look at Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, which appeared in the August 2011 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

ONS Podcasts of Interest

ONF Podcasts
This month, lead author Polly Mazanec, PhD, ACNP, AOCN®, answers these and similar questions as she discusses her May 2011 ONF article “Lack of Communication and Control: Experiences of Distance Caregivers of Parents With Advanced Cancer.” This is the first study of its kind to describe the experience of distance caregiving, an emerging phenomenon in the United States. In this podcast, the benefits and burdens of distance caregiving are explored as well as ways to support adult children of parents with advanced cancer.

CJONPlus Podcasts
Sleep-wake disturbances, especially insomnia, are among the most prevalent and distressing symptoms experienced by patients with cancer. Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the standard of care for the treatment of insomnia in the general population and is part of the ONS Putting Evidence into Practice recommendations as "likely to be effective" for patients with cancer.

In this CJONPlus podcast and in her August 2011 CJON article "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Patients With Cancer," author Susan Crump Woodward, MSN, ARNP, AOCNP®, attempts to demystify cognitive behavioral therapy and provide nurses with a foundation from which to evaluate and potentially deliver this promising intervention for insomnia.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

Membership Information

SIG Membership Benefits

  • Network with colleagues in an identified subspecialty area around the country.
  • Contribute articles for your SIG’s newsletter.
  • Participate in discussions with other SIG members.
  • Contribute to the future path of the SIG.
  • Share your expertise.
  • Support and/or mentor a colleague.
  • Receive information about the latest advancements in treatments, clinical trials, etc.
  • Participate in ONS leadership by running for SIG coordinator-elect or join SIG work groups.
  • Acquire information with a click of a mouse at http://ons.org/membership including
    • Educational opportunities for your subspecialty
    • Education material on practice
    • Calls to action
    • News impacting or affecting your specific SIG
    • Newsletters
    • Communiqués
    • Meeting minutes.

Join a Virtual Community

A great way to stay connected to your SIG is to join its Virtual Community. It’s easy to do so. All you will need to do is

  • Visit the "Find a SIG" page.
  • Locate and click on the name of your SIG from the list of all ONS SIGs displayed.
  • Once on your SIG’s main page, click “Join Group,” and log in using your ONS Profile. Don’t have an ONS Profile? Create one today, and then return to your SIG to join.

Subscribe to Your SIG’s Virtual Community Discussion Forum
Once you have your log-in credentials, you are ready to subscribe to your SIG’s Virtual Community discussion forum. To do so,

  • Select "Log In," located next to "New User," and enter your information.
  • Next, click on the "Discussion" tab on the top right of the title bar.
  • Locate and select "Subscribe to Discussion"
  • Enter e-mail address.
  • Click "Finish."
  • You are now ready to begin participating in your SIG’s discussion forum.

Participate in Your SIG’s Virtual Community Discussion Forum

  • First, log in. (This allows others to identify you and enables you to receive notification [via e-mail] each time a response or new topic is posted.)
  • Click on "Discussion" from the top title bar.
  • Click on any posted topic to view contents and post responses.

Sign Up to Receive Your SIG’s Virtual Community Announcements
As an added feature, members also are able to register to receive their SIG’s announcements by e-mail.

  • From your SIG’s Virtual Community page, locate the "Sign Up Here to Receive Your SIG’s Announcements" section.
  • Select the "Click Here" feature, which will take you to a link to subscribe.
  • Once the "For Announcement Subscription Only" page appears select how you wish to receive your announcements.
    • As individual e-mails each time a new announcement is posted
    • One e-mail per day comprised of all new daily announcements posted
    • Opt-out, indicating that you will frequently browse your SIG’s Virtual Community page for new postings
  • Enter your e-mail address.
  • Click on "Next Page."
  • Click "Finish"
  • You are now subscribed to receive announcements.
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Special Interest Group Newsletter  September 2011

Nurse Navigator SIG Officers

Coordinator (2010–2012)
Lori McMullen, RN, MSN, OCN®
Ewing, NJ

Carol Bush, BS, RN
Wichita, KS

Dominique Srdanovic, RN, OCN®, MA
Stamford, CT


Web Administrators
Marie Borsellino, RN, BSN, OCN®, CBPN-CMA
Sarasota, FL

Ellen Carr, RN, MSN, AOCN®
San Diego, CA

ONS Copy Editor
Emily Nalevanko, MFA
Pittsburgh, PA

Know someone who would like to receive a print copy of this newsletter?
To print a copy of this newsletter from your home or office computer, click here or on the printer icon located on the SIG Newsletter front page. Print copies of each online SIG newsletter also are available through the ONS National Office. To have a copy mailed to you or another SIG member, contact Membership/Leadership Specialist Carol DeMarco at cdemarco@ons.org or 866-257-4ONS, ext. 6230.

View past newsletters.

ONS Membership & Component Relations Department Contact Information

Brian K. Theil, CAE, Director of Membership and Component Relations Department

Diane Scheuring, MBA, CAE, CMP, Manager of Member Services

Carol DeMarco, Membership Specialist—SIGs

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) does not assume responsibility for the opinions expressed and information provided by authors or by Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Acceptance of advertising or corporate support does not indicate or imply endorsement of the company or its products by ONS or the SIG. Web sites listed in the SIG newsletters are provided for information only. Hosts are responsible for their own content and availability.

Oncology Nursing Society
125 Enterprise Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1214

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