Jeannine Brant, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCN®, FAAN, shares her vision for ONS.
The past two years have been a challenging time for all of us as the COVID-19 pandemic consumed much of our lives. Although the future may be uncertain, I think many of us can acknowledge that we are ready to move forward. The ONS Board of Directors and I are honored to serve ONS for the next year. Getting back to in-person meetings like the 2022 ONS Congress® has renewed our energy and social connections.
We have so much to look forward to as oncology nurses and as a professional organization this year. We will continue to embrace our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Mary Seacole, a Black nurse from Jamaica, is a role model for all of us when it comes to using our voices. She was an early pioneer in nursing, providing care to patients during the Crimean War, but was forgotten after her death in 1881. In 1980, historians rediscovered her story (Seacole, 1857). Throughout her career, Mary faced racism and discrimination and yet had a spirit of determination. She was courageous, paved the way to success despite numerous obstacles, and became a political activist for equality. Others asked to record her story, but she responded, “Unless I am allowed to tell the story of my life in my own way, I cannot tell it at all.”
As nurses, we need to speak our stories and those of our patients, embrace diverse ideas, and courageously stand against racism and marginalization of all disparate populations. Individually and collectively, we need to address both racism and social determinants of health and their tremendous impact on poor cancer outcomes. Because oncology nurses are everywhere in the healthcare system, we can make a difference. The 2022 ONS Congress theme said it well: Many Voices, One Mission.
The ONS Board sets the organization’s strategic priorities and is launching a new strategic agenda in 2023. This year, our current priorities continue to support our mission of advancing excellence in oncology nursing. In the spirit of innovation, we will once again host an ONS Hackathon™, in which members are challenged to create solutions for existing problems using innovative techniques. Data also continues to drive our work, both in ensuring that we are evidence based and relevant to current practice and in supporting our oncology nurse scientists as they discover new knowledge that can be translated to practice improvements. Finally, we will strengthen the voice of the oncology nurse to influence healthcare policy at the state and national levels to improve patient access, advocate for nurses to practice at full scope, and tackle challenges in our healthcare system.
We are a diverse group of oncology nurses who represent ONS, and we are on the move!
Seacole, M. (1857). Wonderful Adventures of Ms. Seacole in Many Lands. James Blackwood Paternoster Row. https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/seacole/adventures/adventures.html