Susan Yackzan, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, Congress Planning Team Member

Each year, planning for ONS Congress starts with a review of the Congress recently finished. It’s clear from evaluations that Congress attendees love learning from other oncology nurses who present poster and oral abstract sessions. Here are some of the things that Congress attendees had to say about poster and oral abstract presentations in 2018

“An insight”
“[On the] front line of practice issues”
“EBP that other facilities are doing and doing well”
“New information”
“[An] amazing example of great work of oncology nurses.”

You could be one of the people sharing your work during the 44th Annual ONS Congress!  Are you ready?  Here’s what you need to know:

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a concise summary of a project. The summary should convey important aspects of the  project so that your colleagues can understand why you did something, how you did it and what you found out.  Your colleagues can learn about your project and relate it to their own oncology nursing practice. ONS congress abstracts can be submitted in six categories: Clinical Practice, Advanced Practice, Research, Leadership/Management/Education, Industry-Supported, and new for 2019, Quality Improvement.

How do I write an abstract?

Start by looking up the abstract submission instructions.  All abstracts must be submitted electronically by September 27, 2018.  Abstracts must be written in a prescribed sequence and there’s a word limit of 375 words.  Each category of abstract may have to be written in a slightly different sequence to get the important points across.  Be sure to look up your abstract category so you know how to write everything. In general, you’ll be asked to describe the important points such as: a purpose, problem or question, the design, methods, findings and conclusions.

What can I write about?

Think about the issues you have in your oncology setting and how you have gone about finding solutions. Nurses are creative and we know how to set priorities to efficiently move through a day.  We know how to work with people in other disciplines and we know how to mobilize resources. We educate ourselves and our patients and their significant others. We screen and detect, manage and strategize. Best of all, we know how to keep care centered on our patients. Try sitting down with your co-workers including the multidisciplinary team and talk about what you accomplished. You may have quality improvement, Magnet or cancer-center accreditation projects that you can highlight. Don’t forget about the interesting and the unusual and the way you solved problems in your work.  There are so many examples of great things that just seem routine but would be helpful to pass on to others!

How are abstracts selected for presentation at ONS Congress?  

  1. Upon receipt, the abstract will be reviewed for compliance with the abstract instructions and assigned a number to ensure anonymity.
  2. Three ONS member volunteers with the appropriate experience in in leadership, management, education, clinical/evidence-based practice or research will blind review all abstracts.
  3. Reviewers will use one of the following sets of scoring criteria, depending on the abstract’s content area. Each item is scored on a scale of 1-5 grading scale (1=not at all; 5=high).
  4. The conference planning team will rank order abstracts for presentation at the conference.

Are there any resources to help write an abstract?

ONS has a mentor program for new abstract writers. Submit this form to be paired with an experienced abstract writer for guidance. You can also view the 2018 accepted poster and podium abstract submissions, or view the 2018 ePosters to get a better idea of what is expected.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind!

  • Be sure to check grammar and spelling – ask someone you trust to read your abstract and check for errors.  Computer spell-check may not catch everything!
  • Make sure you have not gone over the total number of allowed words!
  • Make sure you have something written for each part of the abstract (follow the sequence!)


We can’t wait to learn how you are growing your profession and your practice! Submit your abstract and share your knowledge!


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