Melanie Darvish on Receiving an ONS Scholarship and What it Means to Be An Oncology Nurse


Melanie Darvish, BSN, RN, shares her experience attending the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress with an ONS Scholarship.

Melanie Darvish, BSN, RN, who works at the infusion center at the Allegheny Health Network, joined Oncology Nursing News® to share her experience attending the 48th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress via an ONS scholarship.

In 2023, there were nearly 90 recipients for the ONS Congress scholarship.1 Those who are selected to receive this scholarship are granted up to $2000 to apply toward their congress registration, travel to and from the Congress, and per diem expenses. Of note, those who live within a 30-mile radius of the conference location are eligible to receive only the conference registration fee, and individuals are not permitted to receive this scholarship more than once.

To be eligible for the scholarship, participants must be a registered nurse and caring for patients with cancer. They must also be able to attend to the Congress in its entirety and agree to participate in a follow-up survey. According to their website, application scores are assessed based on the candidate’s ability to clearly articulate why they wish to attend Congress, and what, specifically, they will achieve during the Congress that they can apply to their personal practice.

In the interview, Darvish shared what she was initially expecting to take away from the Congress ended up being different than what she experienced.

“The [session] that I probably found most surprising—that I really enjoyed—was about research and how we move from observational studies into implementation,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think of myself as someone who would want to do research per se, but I am very interested in evidence-based practice, and providing my patients with the best outcomes that I can; and that [does] requires someone to do research and tell us what has been shown to be most effective”.

“I really found that talk to be enjoyable and it was surprising to me how much I enjoyed it because it was listed as [a] research track,” she summarized.

Lastly, she shared with Oncology Nursing News her perspective on what it means to be an oncology nurse.

“I have worked in a lot of different areas,” she said. “I worked in trauma, I worked in the [intensive care unit] ICU, I worked in pulmonary, I worked in cardiothoracic. I finally landed here in oncology.

“For oncology in particular, you really are the touch point and the back stone for those patients because they, whether their treatment is going to be temporary, [or whether] they will be cured or not, their cancer diagnosis is a lifetime thing,” she said. “You will be that person that was there for them on day 1, you are there for them on their last day—whether that is their last day of treatment, or their last day of their life—you are there for them throughout the continuum. You get to be a part of someone’s life in a very special and unique way. And it can obviously be very hard because [not] all of those patients make it, but I think that’s also what makes it most rewarding.”


ONS Congress Scholarships. Oncology Nursing Foundation. Accessed May 9, 2023.

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