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 Theresa Zielinski, RN, MS, OCN®, for sharing how Congress inspired change in her practice!

By: Theresa Zielinski, RN, MS, OCN® 

The effects of the 41st ONS Congress were notable before our plane even landed in San Antonio. All through the seats, I could hear nurses chattering with one another. Some were new to trampoline for water Congress, some had been many times before, but all were feeling the anticipation and excitement that would come in the next few days.

As oncology nurses, our goal is to create a community of caring, and Congress provides the perfect opportunity for that. As a recipient of the ONS Foundation Congress Scholarship, I had to take a moment to reflect—feeling gratitude in knowing that I was provided the honor and privilege to attend. I knew I would find resilience in my passion and vow to pay it forward.

My fellow flyers were clearly in a similar mindset. All around me they shared stories and experiences of Congress.

“I’m feeling so burnt out. Congress gives me my inspiration and helps me understand why I do what I do,” one said.

“This is my first Congress ever. I can’t wait to hear the opening ceremonies. I’ve heard about how great they’ve been from others who’ve gone,” another said.

And the conversations weren’t just about oncology. They were sharing stories about friendships forged through a common ground of caring. Congress brings together like-minded, passionate oncology nurses from across the country and around the world. There’s no better place to meet a new friend or network with a new group than Congress. In fact, one of my fellow passengers said, “For over 19 years now—even though we live in different states—my close friend and I meet at Congress to share our wonderful nursing experiences and build new memories.”

Congress is about learning, but it’s also about passion and reconnecting with what makes oncology nurses great. It brings us together to grow, to challenge, and most importantly, to applaud ourselves for all that we bring to our profession. It helps us forge ahead as we make a difference in the world.

Before we even checked into our hotels, we could feel the big change starting to happen. On that plane, we shared experiences and dedication, and it all happened before the wheels even touched down.