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Recently, I read the article, “The Human Side of Cancer Treatment,” posted in Harvard Magazine by Lisa Cox. This article was moving in how it accurately described a patient's view of the complexity of an oncology nurse—the human side. I’m an oncology certified nurse, nursing supervisor, coworker, friend, wife, daughter, and mother, but most importantly, I’m a human being.
Florence Nightingale, a forerunner of evidence-based practice, linked sanitation to morbidity and mortality rates. Her initiatives, such as simple hand washing, remain standards today. The attention and implementation of quality standards have helped change and shape the way our healthcare system grows to keep patients safe.
Nursing theorist, Jean Watson, RN, PhD, FAAN, once said, “Caring is the essence of nursing.” As we move into the fast-paced era of increasing technology, innovative treatments, and electronic medical documenting, we should remember that small tokens of understanding and little acts of kindness are really what makes nursing such a privilege.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has announced an upcoming free webinar, “Understanding the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and Other National Strategies,” for September 22, 2016. This free educational session will outline the changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) opioid prescription guidelines. This webinar comes at a time when healthcare professionals are looking to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic in the United States.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) recently published three webinar courses that provide free CE to RNs, APRNs, and psychiatric-mental health nurses. The courses focus on the opioid epidemic that has taken hold in the United States. These courses aim to answer the question, “What can nurses do?” ONS was asked to review the series and provide feedback on content and applicability to practice.
From the day you began your career as an oncology nurse, it is quite likely that two main principles were ingrained into every aspect of your training and practice: infection prevention for our very susceptible patient population and using safe handling to reduce the risk of exposure to chemotherapy and other hazardous agents.
There is no doubt in the mind of oncology nurses that infection prevention is paramount to providing safe, quality cancer care. Neutropenic precautions have long been integrated into the plan of care for patients whose immune system are compromised due to cancer or cancer treatment.
In 1965, the monthly cost of cancer care was $100. By 2013, that number had risen to nearly $10,000. The skyrocketing cost of cancer drugs has, in part, played a major role in limiting access to care for patients with cancer. But money isn’t the only barrier: Location of treatment centers, lack of transportation, socioeconomic challenges, along with myriad cultural differences can play into the ways patients do—or don’t—access care.
Sequencing of cancer treatment regimens is based on multiple factors, including the pharmacokinetic properties of the agents in the regimen and their effectiveness based on cell-cycle specificity. Because of potential interactions and effects, some regimens have critically important administration sequencing.
Congress is full of opportunities to learn, explore new advancements in oncology, listen to experts in the field, and meet with numerous like-minded colleagues from across the country. For some oncology nurses, Congress is a place to teach as well. This was the case with ONS member Yvette Rosa, BS, OCN®, of St. Anne’s Regional Cancer Center Fall River, MA, when her group’s abstract submission was selected to become a podium presentation. In the blink of an eye, Rosa found herself and her group members preparing to take the stage.


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