Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2012
Coordinator's Message
SIG Continues to Grow

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

I am so pleased to report that our SIG has continued to grow and that you, the members, continue to step up and volunteer to help make our SIG a success.

Carol Bush, BS, RN, who has been our newsletter co-editor, moved into the coordinator-elect position at Congress and will take the helm in May 2013. Carol, who hails from Kansas, is a dynamic nurse and navigator. I constantly am amazed by her drive and vision—the SIG will be in very good hands.

Jean Sellers, RN, MSN, from North Carolina, has volunteered to be our liaison with the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators and the National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators. This liaison position will provide an informal connection between our SIG and both organizations, providing an open pathway for communication.

Early in 2012, the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) sent out a role delineation survey to investigate if nurse navigators have a unique body of knowledge that warrants a certification exam. During our SIG meeting at Congress, ONCC Executive Director Cyndi Miller Murphy, RN, MSN, CAE, FAAN, shared those results. Cyndi informed SIG members about the review of the role delineation study and the reason for it. She said that at this time, the numbers may not support certification. Navigation is a relatively new role that will have to be monitored to see how it develops.

I also will ask our Virtual Community administrators, Marie Borsellino, RN, BSN, OCN®, CBPN-CMA, and Ellen Carr, RN, MSN, AOCN®, to post a list of nurse navigators who responded to my call to act as resources or mentors. So many institutions are just starting navigation programs, and those new navigators have questions! If you would like your contact information posted, please e-mail me. Include the disease site(s) that you navigate as well as a contact e-mail.

Lastly, please consider how you can share your talents with the SIG. It is never too early to consider running for the SIG coordinator-elect position. Our next election will be held in 2014. If the commitment to a leadership position is not your style, perhaps you would like to be a newsletter editor or submit an article to the newsletter. If you have an idea for a session topic for Congress 2013 in Washington, DC, I would love to hear from you!

Some people want it to happen, some wish it to happen, others make it happen. - Anonymous

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  June 2012

ONS Nutrition Focus Group

Sue Tiffany, RN, BSN, OCN®
Manlius, NY

Oncology nurses play a vital role in assessing nutritional alterations in their patients. These nutritional alterations can have profound effects on our patients' quality of life—cancer-related malnutrition often leads to increased infection rates and postoperative complications, reduced tolerance to treatments, increased healthcare costs, and reduced performance status. The main goal of the ONS Nutrition Focus Group is to educate oncology nurses about evidence-based nutrition interventions and the role that these early, nurse-led nutrition interventions can play in determining more favorable outcomes.

Goals of the ONS Nutrition Focus Group

  • Teach oncology nurses to identify malnutrition and eating barriers and provide tools to screen and assess patients for intervention.
  • Provide care plans and evidence-based nutrition interventions for nurses to implement and guidelines regarding when to refer patients to a dietitian for more comprehensive intervention.
  • Create newsletters and other educational materials for nurse nutrition education.
  • Increase membership in the Nutrition Focus Group and apply for SIG status.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Nutrition Focus Group, please e-mail me.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  June 2012

A Personal and Professional Journey

Jean Sellers, RN, MSN
Chapel Hill, NC

I never will forget my first patient, a 59-year-old man newly diagnosed with a glioblastoma. He lived for nine months and died in my home. He was my father, and the irony is that I was not a nurse at the time. That experience led me to oncology nursing. My first position, in 1994, was as a staff nurse on an inpatient oncology unit. Since then, I have worked as a hospice nurse, oncology nurse navigator, clinical manager for a hospice and home health program, and, most recently, leader of the statewide navigation initiative for the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Each one of these positions has brought me joy and sorrow, emotions that every oncology nurse experiences. The different positions also show how diverse the opportunities are in oncology nursing.

While I have much to celebrate in my nursing career, my greatest celebration came on November 16, when I marked my one-year anniversary of a bone marrow transplant for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I know from my nursing experience that when patients learn they have cancer, they assume they are going to die. I have spent much time helping patients and families overcome this fear. Despite my knowledge, I found myself with the same assumption when I faced my own diagnosis. People thought that as an oncology nurse I somehow was better prepared to receive this news; however, I found that my experience in oncology nursing did little to protect me from the paralyzing fear of the unknown. I found it hard to think, hard to feel, and hard to breathe.

Now when I am asked what my oncology nursing journey has been like, I struggle to put my experience into words. From the moment I learned I had cancer, I entered a world in which nothing was ever the same. Experiencing firsthand what my patients have encountered and living with a constant awareness of my own mortality have reshaped my perspective on the unique needs of patients with cancer. Personally, I don't believe I could have survived this without the foundation of my career; lessons learned from patients about living and dying; and the incredible team of physicians, colleagues, nurses, and family members who never left my side. I always knew I was surrounded by some of the best colleagues in the world, but becoming a patient enabled me to see it firsthand. Living through the most tortuous treatment and being so scared—not of death but of what this experience was doing to my two daughters—were at times unbearable. Faith took on a whole new meaning. For 100 days following my transplant, my world was black. "When the snow turns black" is a saying in the Tour de France. Cyclists competing in the world's most arduous bike race have said that when climbing the Alps or Pyrenees, the body undergoes such distress that the brain ceases to process sight correctly. The snow literally turns black when viewed. I've heard it said that the bike race is a metaphor for life's inevitable victories, failures, tragedies, valleys, flatlands, and mountains; however, no mountain is more difficult to climb than cancer.

Sometimes I like to remember what life was like before my diagnosis. I was one of the lucky ones who was always healthy. Now I am always mindful of what I've been through and how much work needs to be done for those who are facing this disease and also for those who will be diagnosed in the future. My life is lived with urgency now. Patient navigation has taken on a whole new meaning. I am humbled by my experience and driven by a passion to ensure that patient navigation does not become a Band-Aid for a badly broken healthcare system. As an oncology nurse, I have seen patient navigation help save lives, overcome barriers to care, and be utilized in communities—both urban and underserved areas—to meet the needs of patients with cancer and healthcare institutions. I hope to continue my leadership in helping to transform the delivery of quality cancer care through patient navigation by working with the leaders who already have accomplished so much in this field. I hope that I live to see the day when this specialty is embraced as a standard of care by all healthcare organizations and insurance companies. In the words of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, "It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth—and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up. We will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." Working together, patient navigators can help make bearable the mountains that our patients with cancer must cross.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  June 2012

PEP Update for SIGs

ONS is in the process of updating all of the evidence for the ONS PEP web-based resources. The topics of Anxiety, Constipation, CINV, Depression, Diarrhea, Dyspnea, Fatigue, Lymphedema, Mucositis, Pain, Peripheral Neuropathy, and Prevention of Infection are now updated through December 2010 publications and are expected to be available on the ONS Web site this summer. These topics and all other topics will be updated through December 2011 within this year. About 130 volunteers are involved in the PEP program as contributors or field reviewers and evidence from approximately 1,000 articles is being summarized.

A monograph for the CINV evidence is being developed and should become available by June-July 2012. A monograph for the updated Pain evidence also is being planned. Non-pharmacologic interventions will be included in the Pain topic. Some topics also likely will be developed this year for CJON articles.

New volunteers are continually being accepted to become involved in the development and field review of the ONS PEP resources, so anyone interested in becoming involved in this work should contact us at research@ons.org.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  June 2012


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 the following new discussions.

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  June 2012

Five-Minute In-Service

In the latest issue of ONS Connect, the Five-Minute In-Service takes a look at Managing Taste Dysfunction in Patients With Cancer.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  June 2012

Do You Enjoy Writing?
Become an ONS Blogger

Join Patients and Caregivers on the Cancer Journey!
We're looking for oncology nurses to write for Traveling Companions, ONS's patient- and caregiver-focused blog. If you'd like to share your thoughts and comments to support patients and caregivers on the cancer journey, please e-mail us at socialmedia@ons.org for consideration.

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  June 2012

ONS Podcasts of Interest

ONF Podcasts
When does nausea and vomiting usually occur in children receiving chemotherapy? What strategies do they use to cope? How effective are these strategies? In this podcast, lead author Cheryl Rodgers, PhD, RN, CPNP, CPON®, addresses these questions and presents implications for oncology nurses as she discusses her March 2012 ONF article "Children's Coping Strategies for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting." (Listen to ONF podcasts!)

Previous research investigating the frequency and duration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in pediatric patients with cancer has been limited. This descriptive study not only evaluates frequency, duration, and distress of CINV but also expands upon previous research. With a greater understanding of this chemotherapy symptom experience, effective management strategies can be developed for this patient population.

CJONPlus Podcasts
Listen in as CJON Associate Editor Mallori Hooker, RN, MSN, NP-C, AOCNP®, interviews Joanne Frankel Kelvin, RN, MSN, AOCN®. In Kelvin's April 2012 CJON's Oncology 101 column titled "Fertility Preservation for Patients With Cancer," she discusses the options for fertility preservation available to patients with cancer, regardless of their age, and the importance of having these discussions with patients early on in the cancer journey.

Also available is a podcast from April 2012 CJON's Heart of Oncology column. Two bouts with breast cancer and recent reconstructive surgery have helped put it all into perspective for award-winning oncology nurse Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS. In this podcast, she shares her story about personal courage and paving a course for future oncology nurses as she reads the very funny, inspiring, and moving keynote address that she gave to the 2011 Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing graduating class. (Listen to CJON podcasts!)

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Special Interest Group Newsletter  June 2012

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
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    • Calls to action
    • News impacting or affecting your specific SIG
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    • 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  June 2012

Nurse Navigator SIG Officers

Coordinator (2010-2013)
Lori McMullen, MSN, RN, OCN®
Ewing, NJ

Coordinator-Elect (2012-2013)
Carol Bush, BS, RN
Wichita, KS

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


Co-Virtual Community Administrator
Marie Borsellino, RN, BSN, OCN®, CBPN-CMA

Co-Virtual Community Administrator
Ellen Carr, RN, MSN, AOCN®

ONS Copy Editor
Jessica Moore, BA, BS
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
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Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1214

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