By Anne Kolenic, MSN, RN, AOCNS®, 2015–2016 ONS Congress Content Planning Team chair
WOW! What a great Congress in San Antonio we had this year. It truly was four days of intense learning, networking, and rejuvenation. Now that we have all had some time to catch our breath, recuperate, and reflect on the event, I wanted to share with others some of the big ideas that were presented by our colleagues.
It all started Thursday morning during opening ceremonies where attendees were charged with two main areas of focus. First, I encouraged all to learn, share, network, and reflect on their journey as an oncology nurse. We all went into oncology nursing and stay in it for different reasons, but it’s important that we take the time to think about our paths and share our story and journeys with our colleagues. Then, from our awesome keynote speaker, Ron Culberson, we were all inspired to “Do it well. Make it fun!” Ron brought to life how implementing that easy two-step plan leads you to greater success in both your life and your career. Ron shared hilarious life observations and experiences with us to demonstrate how those steps to make dull or stressful situations more enjoyable. It was a great message to start off Congress and left everyone laughing and relaxed.
There were so many great sessions over Congress that it would be impossible to highlight them all, but here are a few learnings that particularly struck me. In “Dental Oncology,” we learned that patients with cancer need to be seen proactively by dentist prior to starting treatment to ensure best outcomes. Oncology nurses are the best advocates for this to happen and can be instrumental in paving the future of bridging the gap between oncology and dentistry. It was great to have a dentist along with an oncology nurse navigator to present this topic.
In “Looking Toward the Future,” Patricia Grady, PhD, RN, FAAN, Director of the NINR, provided great information on how nursing science is poised to make significant contributions to new advances in oncology care. She shared examples of current research being done, gaps in the research, opportunities for funding, and other resources available through NINR.
“The Elephant in the Room” provided practical tips and tools for the attendees to utilize in their everyday clinical practice to approach and discuss difficult topics with their patients. Anne Katz, PhD, RN, with some help from her planning team colleagues, used roleplay scenarios to demonstrate how to start these conversations, stay open to what the patient is saying, and even how to regain your composure when our patients “throw us a curve ball” during the conversation.
Lastly, members of the ONS Board of Directors encouraged attendees to “Keep the Fire Burning” with the information gained at Congress and implement the new knowledge into our practices back home. One of the greatest comments shared by an attendee is that she and her colleagues had made a pact that when back at work and the “high” of Congress was fading, they would say to each other “Remember the Alamo” to remind them of the great inspiration and rejuvenation that occurred this weekend!
For those of you who weren’t able to be with us in San Antonio, please take the time to look over the accepted abstracts and ePosters, and reach out to your peers to discuss their projects and research. Talk to your colleagues who did attend and ask them to share what they learned and experienced. I bet they’ll have some great new insight to share.
For those who were about to join us, thank you again! It was awesome experience, and I hope you enjoyed your time. Don’t forget to complete your evaluation by 11:59 pm EST on May 26 at myoutcomes.ons.org to claim your Congress CNE. We can’t wait to do it all again next year in Denver, CO, May 4-7, 2017!