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ONS Head Calls for More ‘Seats at the Table’

ONS Head Calls for More ‘Seats at the Table’

WASHINGTON, DC—Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) President Paula T.
Rieger, RN, MSN, has made "more seats at the table" her model for
internal ONS matters, for improving oncology practice, and for giving nurses
and patients more voice in health policy. An advanced practice nurse,
Clinical Cancer Prevention, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
in Houston, Ms. Rieger discussed these issues in her presidential address to
the 27th Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society. With
30,000-members, ONS is the world’s largest professional oncology
association.

Ms. Rieger also dispatched 500 well-briefed oncology nurses to Capitol
Hill to express concern about the worsening nursing shortage and to urge
passage of the Nursing Reinvestment Act. At the time of the ONS meeting, the
act was stuck in conference committee over differences in the House and
Senate versions.

The oncology nurses are also trying to enlighten Congressional policy
makers about oral cancer medications, which are not covered by Medicare
unless the medications also exist in an injectable form. To redress this
situation, ONS supports the Access to Cancer Therapies Act (H.R. 1624/S.
913).

Inviting Diversity

This effort reflects one of ONS’s major objectives: to gain more seats
at the tables of health policy-makers. Another is to make the organization
more diverse and inclusive.

ONS has eliminated most of its standing committees and uses flexible
project teams to address issues affecting oncology nursing. Members put
their names into a database of potential volunteers and are asked to work on
teams based on their interests and experience.

"Ask yourself, What table might I like a seat at? What table might I
invite others to sit at?" Ms. Rieger said.

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