Dana-Farber nurses present research at 2021 Oncology Nursing Society Congress

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Newswise — Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers are presenting key studies at the  46th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress. The virtual conference takes place on April 20, 22, 27 and 29, 2021. The nurse-led studies highlight the intersection of clinical knowledge, research, direct patient care and advocacy resulting in innovation. The ONS Congress is the largest, most comprehensive oncology nursing conference in the country.

The presentations focus on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in oncology nursing as well as the critical role oncology nurse navigators play in a patient’s treatment plan.

Notable presentations by Dana-Farber nurse/researchers include:

Title: Mitigating Mortality: A Transformative Oncology Nursing Response to COVID-19

Primary Author: Renee Abdella, BSN, RN, OCN, BMTCN

Authors: Kathleen Spinello, DNP, RN, NE-BC; Rebecca Spitz, BSN, RN, OCN; Kimberly Mello, BSN, RN; Julie McCarthy, BSN, RN, PCCN; Jill Popp, BSN, RN, PCCN

Session: Clinical Practice Oral Abstract Presentations

Care of patients with cancer who also are diagnosed with COVID-19 infection presents unprecedented challenges for oncology nurses. These patients have increased risks for severe respiratory illness, the need for mechanical ventilation, and mortality. To adapt to these multi-faceted demands, nurses at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center led the opening of the institution’s first Oncology Special Pathogens Unit (OSPU) for cancer patients with confirmed COVID-19 or high-risk symptomology. An oncology nurse-led team converted a former step-down unit into a space for providing infection control measures and comprehensive care for oncology patients with COVID-19 or at high risk. New care team roles, such as a donning and doffing monitor, were created to ensure optimal infection control, and mobile device technologies were used to virtually connect patients with family, social workers, and other care members. Operational for 36 days, the OPSU accrued a total of 364 patient days while caring for 99 COVID-positive oncology patients. The oncology nursing team demonstrated an expertly agile response to the significant threats posed by COVID-19 for cancer patients, transforming every phase of their nursing process.

Title: Learning as We Go: The Role of the Oncology Clinical Specialist During the COVID-19 Crisis

Primary Author: Samantha Morrison-Ma, MSN, RN, ANP-C, WHNP-BC

Authors: Megan Corbett, MSN, RN, OCN, NPD-BC; Crystal Derosier, MSN, RN, OCN; Colleen Gerrity, MSN, RN, CPHON; Michelle Ranaghan, MSN, RN, OCN; Lauren Sullivan, MSN, RN, OCN, BMT-CN

Session: Leadership/Management/Education Oral Abstract Presentations

The arrival of COVID-19 required clinical teams to reinvent, under great pressure, the way they communicated changes in practice and policy to the rest of the team. This presentation describes the steps nurse clinical specialists and educators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute took to provide information to clinical staff and ensure nurses could continue delivering safe cancer care. The presentation will assess which steps worked well and which did not, focusing on lessons learned from the experience. Presenters will describe the lasting impact of the COVID crisis on the team’s approach to communication.

Title: Nurse-led Telephone Calls Following First Cycle of Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy

Primary Author: Dena Bourque, MSN, RN, OCN

Author: Teri Jabaley, PhD, RN, OCN

Session: Quality Improvement Posters

In a project aimed at a more proactive approach to symptom management in outpatients, a team of Oncology Nurse Navigators (ONNs) designed and tested a template for conducting follow-up phone calls to patients receiving initial chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatments. ONNs play an important role in reducing symptom distress and increasing satisfaction with care, but there is no standard practice for implementing and documenting follow-up calls. At the Lank Center for Genitourinary (GU) Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the team developed a template for conducting ONN-initiated calls to outpatients within 72 hours of receiving initial chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatments.

Seven ONNs collaborated in the development of the template within the electronic medical record and conducted calls to all GU patients receiving their first infusion during February 2020. During the study period, 17 of 21 (81%) of calls were successful within two attempts. The most common adverse symptom reported was fatigue, followed by nausea and/or vomiting. ONNs provided evidence-based interventions in collaboration with the GU team. The average time for completing a call was 8.8 minutes. All patients said the call was helpful, and nurse satisfaction with the template was highly positive. The project transformed follow-up care for GU patients and provided ONNs with a useful and consistent means of patient communication and follow-up to address symptom distress.

Title: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Oncology Nursing: How Do We Make Meaningful Change?

Primary Author: Anne Gross, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Author: Sara Smith, BA, MBA

Session: Leadership/Management/Education Posters

Nursing leaders at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have developed a multi-year plan to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce. This presentation will cover the major aspects of the plan, including a one-year residency for newly licensed from under-represented minorities, mentor training, and training programs in working across cultures, understanding unconscious bias, structural racism, and other subjects. The presenter will provide a status report on the project and its results, as measured by recruitment of oncology nurses from under-represented minorities, residency completion rates and job placement, and mentoring evaluation.

Title: Ambulatory Residency for Diverse Newly Licensed Nurses

Primary Author: Shanna Sullivan, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC

Authors: Colleen McLaughlin, BA; Angela Creta, DNP, RN-BC, CNL, NE-BC; Anne Gross, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Linda Thompson, DrPH, MPH, RN, FAAN; Rosanna DeMarco, PhD, RN, FAAN

Session: Leadership/Management/Education Posters

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, created the Oncology Nurse Residency Program to transition newly licensed nurses into oncology practice. The program has helped increase diversity in the nursing workforce at Dana-Farber and positively impacted health equity in cancer care. This presentation will describe the major elements of the program and its results. Assessment tools indicate a high level of satisfaction, resilience, and confidence among participants in the program.

For all ONS Congress-related media inquiries, call or email Victoria Warren, 617-939-5531, [email protected].

About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment. Dana-Farber’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement, and advocacy. We provide the latest treatments in cancer for adults through Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and for children through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber is the only hospital nationwide with a top 10 U.S. News & World Report Best Cancer Hospital ranking in both adult and pediatric care.

As a global leader in oncology, Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique and equal balance between cancer research and care, translating the results of discovery into new treatments for patients locally and around the world, offering more than 1,100 clinical trials. 

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