Oncology Nurses at the Moonshot Summit — No, the Invitation Wasn’t Spam
When President Obama announced the Cancer Moonshot, I knew that the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) had an important contribution to make to the effort. Oncology nurses are on the frontline of cancer care and advocate for patients and their families throughout the cancer journey. As Vice President Biden conducted his listening tour, several oncology nurse scientists participated on his roundtable discussions. In addition to the contributions to those conversations, they showed the public that nurses also conduct research, which builds the foundation for clinical practice. ONS members were particularly proud to learn of the appointment of Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, to the Blue Ribbon Panel, as well as the appointments of Kathi Mooney, PhD, RN, FAAN and Jeannine Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, FAAN, to Blue Ribbon Panel working groups.
The Cancer Moonshot Summit in June was a wonderful opportunity not only for me but also for the ONS president and six oncology nurses from practice settings in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Other oncology nurses were also invited, which allowed nurses to participate in all of the breakout sessions. I was invited to be an ignite speaker in the breakout session, “Putting the Patient at the Center of Access and Care.” As an ignite speaker, I shared my belief in the importance and power of the relationship between members of the healthcare team and the patient. A model often seen in nursing is concentric circles with the patient and family at the very core. In following the breakout-facilitated structure, our group brainstormed everything from strategic issues to a plan of action, including a wide range of perspectives and suggestions. This illustration, which was drawn as we talked, shows examples of specific actions that were agreed to in room, but so many more connections and possible collaborations were made.
At the summit and in other settings, Vice President Biden spoke clearly about the role of nurses in the well-being of patients and how they make a difference. Nurses are a critical member of the cancer care team, facilitating an environment that is patient-centered and includes patient-engaged decision-making. For the eight of us to have participated in the summit was a professional honor.
A humorous side note though was that some of the six clinical nurses thought the invite was spam. Once they realized it was genuine, and we contacted them to assure them it was, they were supported by their employers to be away from work responsibilities.
Because this summit brought healthcare providers, patients, researchers, and advocates together there were rich discussions in the breakout sessions and on the breaks. Although everyone had their own priorities, there was unity of the many voices about the importance of collaboration and that is even more evident with the release of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendations. ONS is supporting our nurse scientists to identify our own moonshot priorities that complement these recommendations including developing information and resources for our members so they can help with actions, such as recruiting patients for clinical trials
I am proud that the ONS Board and our members are committed to ongoing support for the Cancer Moonshot and for nurses having the opportunity to participate, collaborate, and lead in advancing its recommendations.