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With four full days of programming, dozens of exhibitors, satellite symposia, and thousands of members in attendance, trying to fit everything in at the ONS Annual Congress can prove quite challenging.
Editor-in-Chief OncLive Nursing
Oncology Nursing Consultant, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
With four full days of programming, dozens of exhibitors, satellite symposia, and thousands of members in attendance, trying to fit everything in at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress—held this year at the Ernest B. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, from May 3-6—can prove quite challenging.
However, with a little bit of preparation and some easy-to-achieve goals, the conference can be a valuable opportunity in terms of acquiring new knowledge and making valuable connections with peers from across the country.
Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, OCN, FAAN, an oncology nursing consultant and adjunct assistant professor of nursing at Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and editor-in-chief of OncLive Nursing, has been attending the conference for a number of years. In a conference preview discussion, she said that the Congress has provided her with long-lasting connections and plenty of information that she can share with her coworkers and at other conferences around the country.
Schulmeister noted that at the ONS Congress, many speakers finalize their presentations right up until the beginning of the conference. This is done in an effort to keep the content as fresh as possible while accounting for any significant reports or studies that might be released mere days before the start of the conference.
“Anyone attending this conference should really use the opportunity to follow up with the speakers,” Schulmeister said. “After a presentation, you can go up, talk to them, ask them questions, and get the information you need.”
While the final agenda may change slightly, a few sessions already on the agenda caught Schulmeister’s eye as topics that could be useful and immediately applicable in practices all over the country. For example, on Thursday, May 3, a session entitled Improving Care for the Difficult Patient addresses a topic that can affect patients experiencing any tumor type. “That cuts across any place of practice,” Schulmeister said.
For nurses looking to make sure their respective practices are aware of current treatment guidelines, Schulmeister recommended attending the session entitled Revised ASCO/ONS Chemotherapy Safety Standards on Friday, May 4. “This session really helps nurses who are interested in what’s new in terms of chemotherapy safety standards,” Schulmeister said.
There are also potentially controversial topics being addressed. Schulmeister recommended that nurses who are concerned about potential nursing shortages check out the session Staffing Ratios in Outpatient Oncology Settings on the afternoon of Saturday, May 5.
While the educational sessions can be useful and cover a number of different topics that affect each nurse differently, Schulmeister said that networking is one of the most important things any nurse can do during the conference. She said attendees should check out the exhibit hall because of the opportunities to learn about new products that practices both large and small could use. Likewise, networking with other nurses can result in valuable professional and personal connections.
“It’s nice to be able to return year after year and reconnect with some familiar faces,” Schulmeister said.