By Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN®, ONS Board of Directors, Director at Large
“How can you be an oncology nurse?”
I’m sure you’ve had people say this to you after you tell them your profession. It’s typically followed by something like, “It must be so difficult to see so much death and so sad to be surrounded by so much sickness.” These comments are true—it is hard to see death and it does make me sad to see my patients suffer. So how do so many of us remain in oncology nursing for such a long time? The experts might suggest it is because we are “resilient.” But what does that mean exactly? Were we always this way? Did we become resilient over time? Can we teach others how to become resilient?
Last year was pronounced the “Year of Ethics” by the American Nurses Association (ANA) in recognition of the publication of the revised Code of Ethics for Nurses and was woven into the ANA Year of Ethics conference I attended in June 2015. My board report from this meeting called for action on ONS’ part to expand the opportunities for our members to develop skills and traits to support creating “a culture of humanity” in our workplaces. In this culture, we will see a reverence for life, where we honor people’s values, promote wellbeing, minimize suffering, and demonstrate non-discrimination, just resource allocation, and integrity. Creating these environments will require courage and demand resilience.
At the ONS 41st Annual Congress, the ONS Board of Directors is sponsoring a session titled “Moral Courage: Building Resilience.” We invite you to join us in this dynamic and liberated session where you will be given the opportunity to share ethical challenges, reflect on your practice, create community and learn from the experts among us. This session is both about you and for you. The Board looks forward to seeing you there.