Jennifer Barnas , BSN, RN, OCN ®, 2019 Congress Attendee 

I attended the ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA for the first time this year and let me confirm, the hype is real and worth it. From the excitement building up to Congress to the closing ceremony, I now understand why nurses continue to attend this year after year.

As a first time and solo attendee to ONS Congress 2019, I was nervous…very nervous. The nervousness was coupled with excitement don’t get me wrong, but I was worried to attend a conference by myself not really knowing what to expect, and for 5 days nonetheless. I quickly learned from the moment I arrived, I was meant to be there.  The energy was INCREDIBLE! To be in an arena with nearly 4000 likeminded, innovative and passionate oncology nurses was overwhelmingly amazing.  This is what makes you want to attend Congress again and again. This feeling continued from session to session whether it was sitting in the arena, attending a dinner symposium, or viewing posters on your own, you just felt it.

I thought I was attending the conference alone but soon realized I indeed wasn’t. I volunteered to sit on a panel of nurse navigators, met up with my local ONS chapter and made friends with nurses from across the county. I learned how other nurses in my position function and was able to speak to why I love my role so much. I’m more excited to attend my local chapter meetings knowing I would get to connect again with these nurses.

Attending Congress taught me new ideas to bring back to my own institution, but it also instilled more gratification in where I work as well. Some ideas presented were things my institution already practices which brought a sense of pride knowing we have best practice for our patients. I learned about new trends in care and have already started implementing changes to make our patient experience even better.

Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget the California sunshine, 10/10 weather!

The passion behind every oncology nurse was palpable and the atmosphere was invigorating at the ONS 44th Annual Congress. See you next year in San Antonio!

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