By: Jaya Mini Gill, RN, BSN; Annie Heng, RN, BSN; and Marlon Garzo Saria, PhD, RN, AOCNS®, FAAN
John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center

Our little trio of neuro-oncology clinical trial nurses have decided to head out to Denver this year to attend the largest and most comprehensive oncology nursing conference Water Trampoline in the country. We agreed to make a conscious effort to absorb as much of the information that will be available at Congress and to take full advantage of the opportunities that will be offered.

Although we realized it would not be easy to select sessions from among the many equally interesting and innovative sessions offered at this year’s conference, we had to carefully select the sessions that will extract the most value from the personal investment we are making to attend the conference. So, how are we deciding which sessions to attend? We agreed to choose the sessions we will attend based on three criteria: improve our skills, learn new things, and see the future.


Improve our skills: Attend sessions that are relevant to our job description and our roles.

Jaya Mini Gill was an intensive care unit nurse prior to becoming Jayaan oncology clinical trial nurse less than a year ago. As a novice oncology and clinical trial nurse, she will be attending the AACR/ONS Research Session on Genomics and Precision Medicine (Thursday, May 4 at 9:45 am) because she wanted to learn more about genomic signatures used in treatment response identification (surrogate markers) and/or identifying specific patients  likely to respond to specific drugs. She also wants to improve her knowledge and skills in recognizing and managing adverse events so she will be attending the session Preventing Adverse Events Through Assessment and Intervention (Saturday, May 6 at 9:45 am).


Learn new things: Broaden our knowledge in oncology so will attend sessions that may not be of particular interest to our role in clinical trials or subspecialty of neuro-oncology.


Annie Heng has been a clinical trial nurse for 12 years and will be sitting for the OCN® examination this year. Although clinical trials and end-of-life are almost mutually exclusive phases in the cancer trajectory, Annie will attend the session Shedding Light on the End of Life (Thursday, May 4, 3:30–5:30 pm) to learn more about what happens to her patients after standard of care or clinical trials fail. She also is considering going back to school to get an advanced degree, so she will be attending the session Planning and Caring: What Advanced Practice Nurses Do Best (Saturday, May 6, 2:45–4 pm).


See the future: See what the future looks like for health care and our profession.

Marlon Garzo Saria is a junior faculty and novice nurse scientist.Marlon He wants to know the future landscape of oncology practice that will guide him plan his career in research and academia. Marlon will attend the session Cancer Moonshot: Update on Blue Ribbon Panel’s Progress (Friday, May 5, 11:15 am–1:30 pm) to get a glimpse of the work completed and learn about the priorities in cancer research. In addition, he will attend the session on Oncology Nursing Research, Emerging Technologies, and Precision Health (Saturday, May 6, 11:15 am–1:30 pm) to hear about emerging technologies and how they will impact the care provided at the bedside.


Now that we have shared with you our thought process in selecting the sessions that we will be attending, we want to hear your thoughts! Please share your strategies in session selection during Congress. We would love to listen and learn from you, and hopefully meet you at one of these sessions in Denver!