By Alec Stone, MA, MPA, ONS Director of Health Policy

Change is coming—big change, most would say. The ONS 41st Annual Congress theme is right in step with the national political scene. Big changes are coming, no matter who is elected president.

After the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, what we know for sure is…nothing is for sure. From front runners and establishment favorites to longshots and outsiders, voters have their choice across the political spectrum, spanning from far left to far right. It appears as if neither party will have a solid nominee anytime soon. That in itself is a big change, as each field typically quickly narrows to select someone as their standard bearer for the general election.

Obamacare is one of the topics at the center of the presidential conversation. Repeal and replace, or strengthen and expand? There are distinct differences between the Democrats and Republicans on this issue. Change is inevitable as more Americans want access to healthcare, look for more affordable treatments, and want advances in research to cure diseases. The bipartisan support for Vice President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative is a great example of big change. All agree that to make a difference, real investment and coordination is essential. Breaking down barriers within government allows us to be more efficient, speeding cures and helping patients.

None of this will be easy. There are bureaucratic obstacles, institutional assumptions, professional turfs, and practical matters that must be overcome. But achieving that will be in and of itself, a big change. The tidal wave is coming, will you as a health professional be ready for it?

ONS continues to be ahead of the “big change” ideas. Join in on at my session at Congress, “Election 2016: Donkey or Elephant, Educate the Candidates on Oncology Nursing Issues,” on Friday, April 29 from 3–4 pm and learn about the impact public policy has on oncology nurses. Get engaged for change!

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