As a member of the Inland Empire (IE) ONS Chapter in Southern California, I was invited to volunteer at the 2022 ONS Congress® by monitoring rooms and preparing gift bags for the conference attendees. I chose to monitor rooms for two presentations that were of particular interest to me: “Tools of the Trade: Communicating Sensitive Topics” and “Medical Aid in Dying: The Nurse's Role in Giving Voice to Patient Requests.”
This was my first ONS Congress and I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event, spread over multiple buildings of the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. After visiting the registration booth and receiving my badge, I proceeded to the IE ONS Chapter’s booth in the arena lobby to pick up my Host Chapter, Volunteer, and Room Monitor ribbons to indicate my role to other attendees. Then, I made my way to the room I would be monitoring.
As a room monitor, my role was to attend to the needs of the speakers and audience and maintain safety through observation of maximum room capacity codes. Once these objectives were met, I became an audience member, learning from the presenters and meeting other oncology nurses from across the country. The sense of community and camaraderie among attendees was something I hadn’t experienced in several years and I had forgotten how important and valuable these types of experiences can be.
I had a great time volunteering at ONS Congress! After experiencing it, I have a few suggestions for other oncology nurses:
Volunteer if you have the opportunity. You will benefit from the education and community while saving money!
Download the ONS Congress app. ONS Congress is a huge event. By using the app, I was able to easily keep track of which sessions and speakers I wanted to attend and hear and how to find them!
If ONS Congress seems cost-prohibitive, consider applying for one of the ONS Congress Scholarships provided by the Oncology Nursing Foundation each year or inquire about continuing education funds from your employer or local ONS chapter. And if you live in San Antonio, TX, and are a member of that local ONS chapter, consider volunteering for the 48th Annual ONS Congress next year!
Don’t forget to submit your ONS Congress evaluation by May 19, 2022! Evaluations cannot be accessed during scheduled website maintenance from May 13 through May 17, 2022, so plan accordingly.