New Initiatives to Improve Patient Care

Nurses have the opportunity to make valuable contributions to the growing community of cancer patients who are actively in treatment and those who have survived it. It’s estimated that soon cancer will be the leading cause of death in the world. However, the majority of patients live at least 5 years beyond diagnosis. As a result, nurses from multiple specialties will care for an increasing number of cancer survivors—currently estimated at about 12 million in the United States alone. In response to the growing needs of the oncology patient population, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) has launched initiatives to help educate and prepare nurses for the evolving needs of patients and families. The ONS Survivorship Initiative Long after their active cancer treatment ends, patients may continue to develop symptoms or have some symptoms persist. They often return to a non-specialty setting for care and have unique needs that may not always be fulfilled. In an effort to address this problem, the ONS launched a new survivorship initiative to identify gaps in information regarding medical care for cancer survivors and to provide educational resources on survivorship issues. Survivorship issues differ across the age continuum; needs vary for pediatric, young adult, middle-aged, and elderly survivors of the disease. One goal of the ONS initiative is to raise awareness that survivorship care is every nurse’s responsibility—basic registered nurses or advanced practice nurses can make influential contributions as they care for this growing population. The initiative will focus on several areas, including: • Identifying areas for improvement in nursing. • Providing education to ONS members. • Influencing nursing school curriculum. • Providing resources...