National Leaders Will Detail the Future of Nursing

Marcia Frellick

May 07, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC — One of the nation's best known nurse leaders — Patricia Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland — will explain how nurses can harness big data here at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 2018 Annual Congress.

Grace Dean

Brennan will team up with Suzanne Bakken, RN, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics at Columbia University in New York City, to deliver a talk tailored to staff nurses, advanced practice nurses, and scientists, said Grace Dean, PhD, RN, from the University of Buffalo in New York, who is director of the research section of the congress.

"They will explain what big data is and how it can transform nursing practice," Dean told Medscape Medical News. For example, big data can be used to determine the best cancer treatments and the best timing and sequence of those treatments.

This year, amid nationwide calls for price transparency, there will be a session on the growing concern of "financial toxicity" in cancer care.

Paying for Cancer Care

Studies have shown that worries about how to pay for care can have a very real effect on treatment adherence and outcomes, Dean explained.

Ways that nurses can help patients and their families navigate the financial stresses of cancer care will be presented by two researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, said Lenise Taylor, RN, from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, who is planning team chair for the congress.

Immunotherapy is a super-hot topic this year. It seems to be exploding around us with new commercial products available.

Nurses will also hear the latest in immunotherapy and the adverse effects of these powerful drugs, she told Medscape Medical News.

"Immunotherapy is a super-hot topic this year. It seems to be exploding around us with new commercial products available," Taylor reported.

There will be sessions on immunotherapy in general and, specifically, on it's use in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the most prominent type of lung cancer.

The theme of this year's congress — One Nurse. One Moment. One Action. — is an emotional one, Taylor said.

One Nurse. One Moment. One Action.

"It only takes one nurse to impact a patient's life. It only takes one moment to change the trajectory of a patient's outcome. And it only takes one action," she explained.

Each speaker has been asked to think about that moment and relate it to the topic they will be presenting.

"It's important to keep remembering why we do what we do," Taylor said.

Several sessions will be devoted to strategies to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue, a major challenge in oncology when nurses often work with a patient and a family for a long period of time and become part of their support system. Experts will help nurses learn strategies to preserve their own quality of life amid the stressors of cancer care.

One session — When the Nurse Becomes the Second Victim — will describe the healing process after a nurse's error results in harm, when nurses can experience guilt and shame and even question their choice of career.

"The nurse who provided that care may end up needing as much support as the patient or the family," Taylor said.

Feedback from previous meetings prompted organizers to add a track on radiation therapy. Sessions will focus on topics such as the role of the radiation oncology nurse in team-based care, what constitutes a radiation emergency, and clinical indications for palliative radiation therapy.

Radiation Therapy Track Added

Through case studies, nurses will learn about the management of radiation toxicities and how acute symptoms can evolve into chronic problems.

Opioids return as a major topic this year. The focus will be on pharmacologic alternatives, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga, and the management of pain in the addicted patient.

And the number of livestreamed sessions has been greatly increased, so ONS members at the congress who cannot make it to a particular session and those not able to come to Washington won't miss out.

"We will be livestreaming every session in the clinical practice and advance practice tracks," and many others, Taylor said.

Dean and Taylor have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Follow Medscape Nurses on Twitter @MedscapeNurses and Marcia Frellick @mfrellick

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