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Taking the Lead to Solve Problems and Improve Patient Care

MIKE HENNESSY, SR. | May 18, 2016
Mike Hennessy

OncLive Chairman,
Mike Hennessy

Every year, when our editors return from the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress, they remark on how inspiring and informative this event always proves to be, as thousands of oncology nurses gather to exchange insights and share their research, all with a single purpose in mind: to improve the lives of people coping with cancer and the caregivers who love them.

This year in San Antonio was no exception, as our team of editors from Oncology Nursing News and CURE magazine attended poster and podium sessions where nurses shared clinical practice tips and findings from their research projects—many of which began with one nurse simply identifying a problem that needed solving to improve patient outcomes.

In this special issue, we report on a number of approaches that are backed by the evidence and thus “green-lighted” for inclusion in the ONS symptom management toolkit, to help patients deal with the stress and anxiety that accompanies a cancer diagnosis. We also hear from nurses who have found ways to: improve pain medication dosing, monitor for side effects of targeted therapies, proactively monitor for complications like portal vein thrombosis, and prevent dangerous falls in the cancer population.

Our editors also had the honor of interviewing dozens of oncology nurses at ONS about their practice challenges. They shared peer insights on such vexing issues as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, biopsy procedure–related pain, and the insomnia that often troubles patients, survivors, and their caregivers. You can find these interviews and more on our website,

May is Oncology Nursing Month, and Oncology Nursing News sat down with one of the profession’s most compelling thought leaders, Theresa Brown, PhD, RN, who left her career as an English professor to become a nurse. It didn’t take long for Brown to find a home in oncology, where she now specializes in palliative care and hospice. Brown, a celebrated author and New York Times columnist, shares with us why she finds working with patients, often at the end of life, so gratifying—and inspirational.

And, in that vein, Oncology Nursing News editor-in-chief Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ANCS-BC, FAAN, raises the question in her column this month, “Is there such a thing as a ‘good death?’” Both Brown and Schulmeister would argue that there is, but it depends upon honoring patients and their families—their unique life stories and their wishes for their final days, whatever those might be.

We hope that you find these articles informative and inspiring in your daily practice, and as always, thank you for reading.

—Mike Hennessey

Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
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