Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is a national professional nursing organization incorporated in 1975 in Illinois. Currently, the organization includes more than 35,000 members who are nurses and other healthcare professionals specializing in oncology care (UICC, n.d.). The organization’s vision is “to lead the transformation of cancer care” (ONS, n.d.-a, para. 2). The mission of ONS is “to advance excellence in oncology nursing and quality cancer care” (ONS, n.d.-a, para. 1). As evident from the organization’s vision and mission, its activities are directed toward improving safety and quality of care in oncology units and developing and advocating for policies improving cancer care.
ONS has a continuously updated strategic plan that outlines its goals and objectives. For 2020-2021, its goals include being ready for change, creating and innovating, giving a voice to oncology nurses, and working effectively and efficiently (Fennimore, 2020). It means that the organization aims to help oncology nurses adapt to the dynamic environment of cancer care. In this environment, cancer care is constantly developing as new scientific evidence emerges, and this leads to the need for change in care settings and policy. Further, ONS encourages nurses to participate in developing cancer care policies related to the delivery of care and payment reform (Fennimore, 2020). Finally, ONS aims at collecting and monitoring oncology care trends to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the work of oncology units.
ONS has issued its health policy agenda outlining the organization’s policy goals. According to the agenda, ONS (2021) advocates for policies related to patient access to quality cancer care, cancer prevention, workforce and education, patient and staff safety, research, the scope of practice, and the value of oncology nurses. Specific goals of the ONS’s policy agenda include the passage of several acts, such as the Cancer Drug Parity Act, the Safe Step Act, and the Lymphedema Treatment Act, all of which are designed to enhance the availability of cancer treatment to patients (ONS, 2021). Other policy objectives include increasing federal funding for screening and prevention programs, enacting the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act, promoting access to telehealth, facilitating innovation in discovering new cancer treatments, and increasing federal funding for cancer research (ONS, 2021). The organization makes efforts toward improving cancer care and enlists the support of other organizations, such as the CDC, to introduce policy changes at the federal level.
ONS’s website contains a page listing all political activities in which this organization is involved. ONS conducts advocacy and health policy events, such as Capitol Hill Days, and engages oncology nurses in advocacy podcasts and webinars (ONS, n.d.-b). It also provides nurses with health policy resources and encourages those living in Washington, DC, to participate in lobbying and drafting legislation. ONS is a member of several health policy coalitions, such as the Pain Care Forum and the Nursing Community. Furthermore, this webpage contains the organization’s policy products, which include position statements, policy agendas, and letters of support. For example, in some of its position statements, the organization argues for the need to educate the public on the negative effects of e-cigarettes and defines the role of oncology nurses in providing cancer care. ONS also promotes its political activity on social media, namely, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.
There are various mechanisms allowing nurses to engage in the political activity of ONS. As has been mentioned earlier, nurses residing in Washington, DC, can join the ONS Capitol Gang and directly participate in developing and advocating for healthcare policies. They can also take part in the organization’s webinars, podcasts, and health policy events and utilize its health policy resources. ONS seems to particularly welcome students and international healthcare professionals among its members since it offers free membership to students and discounted membership for international nurses.
Fennimore, L. Strategic plan outlines the what, why, and how for ONS in 2020–2022. ONS Voice. Web.
Oncology Nursing Society [ONS]. (n.d.-a). Mission, vision and values. Web.
Oncology Nursing Society [ONS]. (n.d.-b). ONS center for advocacy and health policy. Web.
Oncology Nursing Society [ONS]. (2021). Health policy agenda. Web.
Union for International Cancer Control [UICC]. (n.d.). Oncology Nursing Society. Web.