Attendees from the ONS 41st Annual Congress were invited to write a blog post to share the Big Change they experienced as a result of attending Congress. Thank you to Juliane May, RN, BSN, for sharing how congress inspired change in her practice!

By: Juliane May, RN, BSN

How do I put into words my first experience of ONS Congress? Empowerment, excitement, engagement, courage, respect, exhilaration, joy, and most importantly knowledge are all words that come to mind. The 41st Annual ONS Congress was one of the best experiences of my nursing career. It was amazing to see so many strong, smart oncology nurses trying to better their practice and become the change that nursing needs.

I knew I would learn a lot and come back to my workplace feeling more engaged with my co-workers and my patients, but I never thought I would have felt like I was part of something so much bigger. I enjoyed that there were so many opportunities at Congress for whatever kind of oncology nurse you are. I attended the leadership, clinical practice, and APN sessions, and I felt that they were all extremely well organized. The information was valuable for everyone.

As part of the first big change I’m going to implement in my practice, I’m going to feel more confident in my role as a staff infusion nurse and talk to my patients about advocating for them. I want to be able to help them find their voice. Often I feel intimidated by the physicians and other nurses around that try to tell me how to take care of my patients. Through my experiences at Congress, I learned that I know how to take the best care of my patients, and I should help them to ask more questions so they’re involved with their care.

It is so important for our patients to be active participants in their treatment. I plan to help them take the initiative to write things down and journal during their visits with the physicians. I think we get so wrapped up in task-oriented activities that we forget that we need to slow down for our patients once in a while. We need to be there for them during this extremely difficult time.

Technologies are constantly evolving and changing. As my next commitment to Big Change, I want to be better at keeping updated on the new forms of technology in the workplace. I’m also driven to ensure that we’re always using the best evidence-based practices. Just walking around the learning hall at Congress was so exciting. Seeing the new products for infection prevention, new safety methods, and accessories to make patients more comfortable and make treatment more bearable was truly eye opening.

After returning home from Congress, there has been such an incredible sense of wanting to implement so many new things. Unfortunately, trying to change everything at once can feel impossible. I do hope to encourage my co-workers to attend ONS Congress in the future, so they can have the experiences that I did.