Gain Knowledge and Confidence to Handle Oncologic Emergencies

Onc Emergencies

By Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN®

Learn how you can become proficient in managing oncologic emergencies in Saturday’s session, Oncologic Emergencies: A Case-Based Approach.”

Two advance practice nurses will use case studies to help attendees become proficient in managing two different situations.

  • Juanita Madison, MN, RN, AOCN® will present the pathophysiology, medical management, and key nursing considerations in caring for the patient with metastatic spinal cord compression. Attendees will be able to describe the clinical presentation and progression of this emergency, as well as diagnostic tools and goals of care for these patients.
  • Martha Lassiter, RN, MSN, AOCNS®, BMTCN™ will educate attendees on the complex tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). A patient with Burkitt’s lymphoma will set the stage for attendees to gain understanding of risk factors and strategies for prevention of TLS. At the conclusion of this session, oncology nurses will be able to recognize patients at increased risk for TLS, and play a key role in the prevention of progression of this syndrome.

It is imperative that every nurse caring for patients with cancer understand the importance of recognizing oncologic emergencies such as metastatic spinal cord compression and tumor lysis syndrome, and know his or her role in the prevention and management of these emergencies. Attend this session live in Orlando or join remotely through Congress Live Streaming.

What Are Simulation Clinical Scenarios?

Sim Clinic

By Anne Kolenic, MSN, RN, AOCNS®

Are you looking for an interactive, brief educational activity that pertains to complex clinical issues that oncology nurses face? Be sure to attend the simulation clinical scenarios at the ONS booth in the learning hall during Congress. Join members of the ONS Congress Content Planning Team as they guide you through two case studies. These sessions will engage you in an informal learning environment, where you’ll share knowledge and experience with those around you.

The first session, Complex Care for a New Acute Leukemic AYA Patient will be presented Thursday, April 23, from 3–4 pm in the ONS booth. Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN®, will walk you through the myriad concerns for a newly-diagnosed AYA patient, ranging from the complex urgent medical care to issues related to fertility and sexuality. Come and witness how the nurse caring for this type of patient plays a vital role and is able to provide the complex care required to meet her needs.

Scenario two, Cytokine Release Syndrome—Oh My! will be held Saturday, April 25, from 9:30–10:30 am, also in the ONS Booth. I’ll be facilitating this scenario which will teach you how to recognize and manage cytokine release syndrome during a first-time administration of a monoclonal antibody agent in a busy ambulatory clinic environment. In addition to the reaction management, you’ll also see how nurse colleagues can sometimes add to the stress of an adverse reaction due to the ways they communicate (or not) with each other.

Join us for these two sessions and engage by asking questions throughout the simulations. Come and provide your own experiences with all in attendance, as this is a great opportunity to discuss best practices and ways to enhance care for your own patients!

“I’m So Busy, I’ll Get to it Eventually.”


By Ben Becze, Director of Development, ONS Foundation

What are some of the common things in life that sometimes get overlooked until it’s too late? Maybe sending in your vehicle registration before the sticker expires? Getting that book back to the library before those small daily late fines turn into big daily late fines? We all have the best intentions of taking care of these things before the word “late” even enters our minds. But in reality, life is busy, and we’re all pulled in endless directions.

Fortunately, things like the vehicle registration or the late library book can be easily remedied with little or no repercussions.* But some things in life require a bit of attention now to avoid more serious consequences in the future. Eight-Step Estate Planning and Investing Toward Retirement are two Congress sessions that will help you prepare for your retirement and plan for your family and the things you care about well into the future.

These sessions will educate you on the important aspects of financial planning and how to proceed with the necessary conversations to put important documents into place so that your loved ones and the organizations you care about are part of your legacy. Please know that these are opportunities to learn. They’ll provide answers to your questions in a no-pressure, conversational, comfortable environment.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I know it’s important. I’ll get to it eventually” in regards to your retirement planning or your will, consider joining the conversation during these two sessions at the ONS 40th Annual Congress.

These annual sessions, presented by ONS Congress veteran Janet Marcantonio, CFP®, are made possible by the ONS Foundation and its Legacy of Care Society.

*This is up for debate, depending on just how late your library book actually is…

Please Step Away From the Camera!

No Photos

photo credit: via photopin cc

By Anne Katz, PhD, RN, FAAN

Have you ever been at a conference and noticed audience members taking photos of the slides on the screen? Perhaps you have even done it…

Please, please, please stop!

Why is this so important? The information on the slides belongs to the presenters. They have not given you permission to photograph (i.e., copy) the information on the slide. They may be presenting findings from a study that has not yet undergone peer review. They may be presenting about a paper or a book they have written, and the information may be copyrighted to the publisher.

ONS publishes an abbreviated version of presenter slides and/or objectives online, which give attendees a “skeleton” to save or print out and bring to Congress sessions. You can make additional notes and comments for your personal use, but you can’t use them for any purpose other than your own information.

I am writing this from the perspective of a nurse author and frequent presenter. I put a lot of work into my presentations, and it is distracting to see smartphones and tablets above the heads of the audience. I know that the people are more focused on taking a good photo rather than listening to me. I am also concerned that people are going to use my slides for presentations of their own. What I include in my presentations is my intellectual property—and I have a right to decide what information I am prepared to share and what I am not.

So when you’re sitting in a session, think before you shoot. Listen instead of focusing your camera screen. And remember that if you want the slides, you can ask the presenter for a copy and let him/her decide what they are willing to share.

Tumor Boards: The Latest and Greatest in Medical/Radiation, Surgical, and Hematology Oncology Treatment Modalities

Tumor Boards

By Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN®

Are you overwhelmed with the amount of research constantly published on the care of patients with cancer? Do you strive to learn about the latest evidence-based practices in cancer treatment and symptom management? The fact that cancer care is always changing and expanding is what makes it both exciting and intimidating.

This year, the ONS 40th Annual Congress will feature a series of tumor board sessions, in which oncology advanced nurse practitioners will present new treatment and management options for patients with cancer. These sessions are designed to educate you—oncology nurses—on the latest practices to optimize care.

Join Tracy Krimmel, RN, NP, AOCN®, at 10:30 am on Friday, April 24, to discuss treatment options and nursing considerations for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Case studies and the audience response system will engage attendees to understand CLL and the related complications of bone marrow transplant.

At 10:30 am on Saturday, April 25, Jennifer Aviado-Langer, DNP, FNP-C, APRN, and Meghan Routt, RN, MSN, GNP/ANP, AOCN®, will share their expertise in surgical oncology. The session will include use of the hepatic artery infusion pump to manage metastases in colorectal cancer, as well as the importance of identifying and measuring preoperative anxiety in female patients with breast cancer.

And lastly, on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm, Annette Quinn, RN, MSN, and Vanna Dest, MSN, APRN, BC, AOCN®, will present new technologies in in radiation oncology. Attendees will learn about the use of low-level laser therapy to manage oral mucositis related to radiation and chemotherapy treatment of head and neck cancers. You’ll also gain appreciation for the benefits of advanced radiation therapy techniques, including image guided radiation therapy, in reducing cardiac and pulmonary toxicity in patients with cancer.

Come to these sessions and bring information on the latest practices back to your institution. Imagine how new modalities in treatment of cancer and management of side effects could positively impact your patients’ physical and psychological health outcomes.

Supporting Professional Development for Your Staff


By Theresa Kelly, BSN, MSM, RN, OCN®, Director at the BaylorScott&White Glenda Tanner Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center in Temple, TX

As healthcare funding declines and restrictions on pharmaceutical companies’ support increase, we continually search for alternative means to provide education to our oncology nurses. Depending on the finances at the time, we are able to allow a couple nurses from our institution to attend the ONS Annual Congress and share expensive room costs with another department. For example, we have had a nurse from the outpatient infusion department and one from the radiation department travel together. This past year, we were not in a position to fund education from the system’s budget so our ONS CHIP has been fundraising to send nurses to Congress.

Our nurses who attend Congress always come back reenergized and willing to share their knowledge. One of our expectations for attending Congress was to bring back knowledge to share with the team. The nurses always looked forward to their turn to attend Congress and the difficulty for management is not being able to close the clinic and send everyone.

 Learn more about how ONS can help oncology nurses get the education they need and about how the ONS Foundation can support Congress attendance through its scholarships.

Supporting Magnet Recognition Through ONS Programming

ONS Booth Chat

By Kathleen Shuey, MS, RN, AOCN®, ACNS BC, clinical nurse specialist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Evidence-based practice that impacts patient care and nursing innovation is the foundation of the Magnet Recognition Program®. Magnet recognizes the impact of the bedside nurse on patient outcomes. The program focuses on transformational leadership, structural empowerment, exemplary professional practice, new knowledge/innovation/improvements, and empirical quality results. All of these pillars can be supported with help from ONS programming.

There are many avenues that can enhance an individual’s practice and provide inspiration for projects that impact new knowledge, innovation, and quality improvements. Attending national meetings, such as the ONS 40th Annual Congress, exposes nurses to a variety of research and evidence-based practices that impact patient outcomes. Sharing of clinical expertise and professional experiences provides nurses with opportunities to network with peers and bring new ideas and improvement opportunities back to the facility. The ONS Putting Evidence into Practice initiative provides a foundation for clinical practice.

Learn more about all of ONS’s programs and services at

Five Ways Congress Can Work for Your Certification


By Cyndi Miller Murphy, MSN, RN, CAE, Executive Director, ONCC

Looking to get more out of your ONS Congress experience? Attending Congress can be a win-win situation for nurses who are oncology certified or interested in becoming certified. Whether you’re certified now or still thinking about it, here’s how you can make Congress work for you.

  1. Get answers at the ONCC Certification Oasis. This is a one-stop spot for information and recognition. ONCC staff will be on hand to answer questions, demonstrate the Individual Learning Needs Assessment (ILNA), and offer help on how to determine how CNE programs can be used toward certification renewal. Certified nurses will also be able to enjoy light refreshments and complimentary chair massages.
  2. Use your Congress CNE to meet eligibility criteria. Several ONCC certifications require initial candidates to have at least 10 contact hours of recent CNE in oncology. Depending on the credential, the CNE available at Congress can easily help you meet that need.
  3. Use your Congress CNE to fulfill renewal requirements. Already certified? If you’re due to renew in 2015, you can use all of your CNE from Congress toward your renewal. If you’re due in 2016 or later, keep in mind that many sessions will qualify for points in ILNA subject areas. You can search the Congress schedule online or through the mobile app to identify sessions in specific ILNA topics beginning in March.
  4. Learn about ILNA renewal. ONCC will offer a presentation in the learning hall theater about ILNA. This informal session will highlight what you need to know and offer time for Q&A. It’s a great way to get information for yourself and to share with colleagues when you return home.
  5. Network with certified nurses. It’s easy to spot a certified nurse at Congress—just look for the credential ribbon on their name badge. “How long have you been certified?” is an easy way to start a conversation with the nurse sitting beside you, in the elevator, or while waiting in line. Or stop by the Oasis—it’s a great spot to talk with nurses who share your commitment. Plus, the ONCC Recognition Breakfast for Oncology Certified Nurses can’t be beat for networking with certified nurses—it’s exclusively for oncology certified nurses. Regardless of the setting, make a new connection with a certified nurse—you never know where it may lead.

We’re looking forward to seeing you and sharing our passion for certification at the ONS 40th Annual Congress.

Come Out on the Winning End of Oncologic Emergencies

Lombardi Trophy

photo credit: Lombardi Trophy aloft via photopin cc

By Marci Andrejko, BSN, RN, OCN®

Oncologic emergencies are clinical conditions resulting from metabolic, neurologic, cardiovascular, hematologic, and/or infectious changes caused by cancer or its treatment. They are emergent situations, which can sometimes occur quite abruptly, and require immediate intervention to prevent the loss of life or quality of life. At some point in your oncology nursing career, you may have read, attended educational courses, or even physically provided care for a patient experiencing an oncologic emergency. It is these learning experiences that help prepare nurses to be alert and aware of changes in patient conditions and instill confidence to provide the quality care needed during these times. These patients can deteriorate right in front of you, but nurses are in the position to saves lives and improve the course of the illness.

Last Sunday, Super Bowl XLIX was watched by millions of people, myself included. I caught myself thinking about how it feels to confidently enter into a difficult situation, such as oncologic emergencies, and come out on the winning end. Just as in football, all team players must know their role. Oncologic emergencies are life threatening, and knowing the fundamentals, such as assessing, diagnosing, and treating a patient, is the key to succeed in improving health outcomes.

On Saturday afternoon, April 25, at the ONS 40th Annual Congress, Martha Lassiter, MSN, AOCNS®, BMTCN™, and Juanita Madison, RN, will present Oncologic Emergencies: A Case-Based Approach.  This session will provide the latest updates in assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and nursing considerations for various oncologic emergencies.

I know that I want to be on the winning end. How about you? Pick your chair and I will see you there!

Two Years on the ONS Congress Planning Team: What an Experience!

Planning Team

By Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN®

I clearly remember the email from Nonniekaye Shelburne, the ONS Congress Planning Team chair, welcoming me on board for Congress 2014. I reread it several times in disbelief. I was hesitant to apply because I didn’t consider myself an expert in oncology nursing. I didn’t publish frequently. I didn’t have my advanced degree. I was simply an oncology nurse, passionate about my field and excited about the multiple opportunities ONS offers their members to stretch themselves beyond their daily work.

During our first planning team conference call, I felt intimidated and nervous. But within a few weeks, I was contacting experts across the country and helping them build their objectives and content. I connected people who shared fervor for similar subtopics related to oncology nursing. It involved being available to other members of the team, ONS, and the speakers. It gave me such satisfaction to help create these sessions that I was so excited to attend.

My favorite part of the experience was meeting the other team members the night before the preconference sessions. I felt like I knew them because we were all so intimately familiar with each other’s email addresses. But I had no idea that I would leave Congress with such great mentors, colleagues, and friends. The week of Congress was packed chock-full of events. I ran from session, to learning hall, to clinical simulation scenario. It was exhausting, but oh so fun. I left Anaheim waiting anxiously to start planning the 2015 Congress.

Sure enough, the planning team got right back to work. With a year of experience under my belt, I was impassioned to do an even better job. In addition to helping coordinate several educational sessions, I’m also continuing to create clinical simulation scenarios and share the exciting happenings in Congress preparation with the ONS members through blogs and social media.

When I applied to the Congress Planning Team, I hoped to network and gain education on various aspects of oncology nursing that I did not typically experience. Looking back, I achieved those goals and more. I have met and worked with oncology nurses and providers from all over the United States. I have made virtual friends over social media, who later I met in real life. I gained knowledge of geriatric tools to improve care of the older adult with cancer, saw how two different hospitals ensured competent continuity of care during natural disasters, and discovered strategies to encourage your patients to increase physical activity. I’m learning measurement tools to assess the success of patient navigation programs in different patient populations and how to use social media to engage patients and colleagues. My experience on the planning team allowed me to help build something that I’m so proud of and so excited to share with all of you.

ONS is now calling members to apply to be part of the 2016 ONS Congress Planning Team. I personally encourage you to think about extending your dedication to patients with cancer to be a part of this amazing process. Learn more about the team and apply now!