ONS was officially incorporated on July 17, 1975, in Illinois. It began with a charter membership of fewer than 500 members and has since become a driving force in cancer care, with more than 36,000 members.
Explore this special area of the ONS Website to learn more about oncology nursing history, how national conferences have evolved over the years, how the membership has changed, and more. Plus, check out the timeline below to learn more about the events have shaped the Society’s history. Each timeframe below expands into a listing of significant events for those years.
Most of all, take the ONS History Trivia Challenge!
Significant Events in ONS History
- Discussion begins among a small group of oncology nurses at the First National Cancer Nursing Conference in Chicago about the need for an organization to support their profession.
- The first issue of the Cancer Nursing Newsletter, predecessor to the Oncology Nursing Forum, is mailed.
- Communication regarding a formalized group continues at the ACS-NCI National Conference on Advances in Cancer Management in New York.
- ONS holds its spring and fall conferences. The first Annual Convention (Congress), held in Toronto has a business meeting lasting 2.5 hours, and it ends with the proposed bylaws being tabled. After revisions are made, ONS’s bylaws are adopted later this year.
- ONS is accepted into the National Federation of Specialty Nursing Organizations.
- The Oncology Nursing Society Newsletter is renamed the Oncology Nursing Forum.
- Oncology Nursing Forum is indexed in the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and in the International Nursing Index.
- ONS establishes a central office: PO Box 33, Pittsburgh, PA.
- ONS hires its first employee on an hourly basis: Nancy Berkowitz.
- ONS moves to 701 Washington Road, Pittsburgh.
- The issue of holding Congress in states where the ERA has not been passed is debated at the annual business meeting and
continues to be an issue during the next few Congresses.
- Outcomes Standards for Cancer Nursing Practice is published, in collaboration with ANA.
- The first ONS chapters are chartered (Chicago and Cleveland).
- The first Research Priorities Survey is conducted.
- The first Mara Mogensen Flaherty Memorial Lecture is presented.
- ONS hires Pearl Moore as the first executive director (CEO).
- ONS moves to 3111 Banksville Road, Pittsburgh, PA.
- ONS obtains representation on the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
- The Board supports an ONS representative to attend the first Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) program.
- ONS announces its first sustaining member, Boehringer-Ingleheim, Ltd.
- The ONS Foundation awards its first undergraduate education scholarships.
- The first Smoke-Out is held at the ONS 10th Annual Congress.
- ONS awards the first Schering Clinical Lectureship.
- ONS receives an NCI grant to sponsor a pre-Congress workshop on Cancer Prevention and Early Detection in Black Americans. A series of regional workshops on Cancer Prevention and Early Detection in Black Americans also funded through a grant from NCI follow, beginning in 1986.
- ONS Board establishes a Strategic Planning Task Force.
- ONS News debuts as a freestanding publication.
- ONCC administers the first OCN® examination.
- A bylaw amendment is passed to include an honorary membership category.
- The ONS Board of Directors and membership approve a mission statement for ONS.
- The Core Curriculum for Oncology Nursing is published.
- The Oncology Nursing Press, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of ONS, is incorporated.
- ONS moves to 1016 Greentree Road, Pittsburgh.
- ONS establishes the international “In-Touch” program through collaboration with the Nursing Project of the UICC.
- ONS N.A.S.T.Y. (Nurses Against Smokeless Tobacco in Youth) campaign kicks off at Congress.
- ONS becomes an ANA-accredited approver and provider of continuing education.
- The Life Cycle of the Oncology Nurse Task Force is established to understand factors that influence recruitment, retention, and career satisfaction in oncology nursing.
- Senator Edward Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, Jr. receive the first ONS Public Service Award at Congress.
- Oncology Nursing Forum is accepted in Index Medicus.
- ONS holds its first Fall Institute (Chicago, IL).
- The ONS Position Paper on Cancer Pain is published in the Forum.
- ONS moves to 501 Holiday Drive, Building 4, Foster Plaza in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Deborah Mayer is appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board, meeting ONS’s goal of nurse representation.
- ONS sponsors a State-of-the-Knowledge Conference on Cancer Fatigue, funded by a grant from Schering Laboratories.
- ONS kicks off its first Oncology Nursing Day and Month at Congress’s Opening Ceremonies.
- ONCC administers the first AOCN® examination.
- Oncology Education Services (OES), Inc. is incorporated.
- ONS Online, now the ONS Web site, is officially launched.
- ONS revises its mission to be, “to promote excellence in oncology nursing and quality cancer care,” develops values and a vision, and undergoes significant reorganization, such as establishing the ONS Steering Council.
- The first issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing is published.
- A bylaw amendment passes to include an Associate Membership category.
- ONS launches ONStat, the Society’s grass roots advocacy initiative.
- ONS welcomes its first Lifetime Sustaining Member, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals.
- ONS launches the State Health Policy Liaison program.
- ONS celebrates the first National Cancer Fatigue Awareness Day.
- The first ONS Leadership Development Institute (LDI) is held.
- Pilot Chemotherapy Administration Competency and Chemotherapy Administration Trainer courses are held.
- The CPON® examination is first administered by ONCC.
- The ONS Foundation Center for Leadership, Information and Research (CLIR) is established.
- ONS offers its first virtual Congress.
- ONS holds its first annual Institutes of Learning (formerly, Fall Institutes).
- The Oncology Nursing Press, Inc. is dissolved, and transitions to the ONS Publishing Division.
- Chapter and SIG virtual communities are launched.
- ONS moves into the new National Office at 125 Enterprise Drive, Pittsburgh.
- ONS and its affiliates adopt six core values: integrity, innovation, stewardship, advocacy, excellence, and inclusiveness.
- ONCC launches the Oncology Nursing Certification Advocates Program at Congress.
- More than 500 ONS members participate in “ONS Hill Day” in conjunction with the 27th Annual Congress.
- The first computer-based testing (CBT) of ONCC certification examinations is offered.
- ONS co-hosts the Tour of Hope stop in Pittsburgh.
- ONS’s first National Nurse Practitioner Conference, now the APN Conference, is held in conjunction with IOL.
- The inaugural issue of The Student Voice, designed specifically for nursing students, is produced.
- ONCC administers the first AOCNP® and AOCNS® exams.
- Pearl Moore, ONS’ first CEO, retires on January 31, 2007.
- A $10 million endowment is reached in the ONS Foundation (December).
- The first ONS-initiated legislation is introduced in Congress: “Assuring and Improving Cancer Treatment Education and Cancer Symptom Management Act of 2008."
- ONS President Brenda Nevidjon is present at the White House as President Obama signs the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law.
- ONCC offers the first CBCN® examination.
- ONS and ASCO develop the first national standards for safe administration of chemotherapy drugs.
- ONS membership votes to adopt an International Tiered membership category into the bylaws.
This timeline provides many significant dates but is not meant to serve as a comprehensive history. Every attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the events below using a variety of resources from our archives.