1. Section Editor(s): Gullatte, Mary Magee PhD, RN, ANP, BC, AOCN(R), FAAN

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The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year. There are over 12 million patients with cancer either in active treatment or posttreatment survivorship.1 The acute and chronic care management of our patients now and in the future requires a dedicated team of health care professionals to partner with patients and families for best cancer care outcomes.

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The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is a national specialty organization of more than 35 000 registered nurses and other health care professionals dedicated to excellence in patient care, research, administration, and education in the field of oncology. The care of patients with a diagnosis of cancer requires an interprofessional collaborative team approach. When managing patients receiving intravenous therapy, there is an opportunity for synergy between the ONS and the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) in effecting better outcomes related to vascular access. Central-line bloodstream infection (CLABSI) comes to mind as a metric with an opportunity for collaboration between the ONS and INS in managing patients receiving intravenous antineoplastic therapy. The ONS, like INS, is committed to advancing the profession of nursing and improving safety and quality outcomes for patients.


There are 8 key goals outlined in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.2 This call to action will afford new opportunities for our 2 societies to partner in ways we have not realized in the past. In addition, we have an opportunity to share our collective visions and advocacy to improve and reform our national health care system. Our commitment to patient care safety and quality related to intravenous therapy will provide an opportunity for our societies to develop joint standards, collaborate in developing education programs for nurses and patients and families, and explore clinical research partnerships to improve clinical outcomes of care with quality metrics, such as CLABSI. This addresses one of the IOM "Future of Nursing" strategies to expand opportunities for nurses to lead and diffuse collaborative improvement efforts.


One of my passions is in line with the recommendation of The Future of Nursing to "prepare and enable nurses to lead change and advance health." 2 Leading change is a professional imperative that we should all embrace as nurses. The synergy we can leverage together by combining efforts for a common purpose can serve to advance not only the profession but also the health and safety of our nation.


Although overall cancer mortality has declined in recent years, the number of our aging citizens who will be entering the health care system is growing. I had the opportunity, in May, to provide testimony to the IOM Consensus Study Group on Improving the Quality of Cancer Care: Addressing the Challenges of an Aging Population. As more and more baby boomers enter the health care system, there will be more opportunities for our societies to leverage our collective advocacy efforts to improve patient outcomes. Nurses have long played a crucial role in patient navigation, education, and care delivery in a variety of settings and in the management of a plethora of treatment modalities and routes of medication administration. We can collaborate and partner in a variety of ways to support safety and compliance with intravenous therapy standards.


I am excited about the work of ONS and INS and the future opportunities our synergistic partnership can yield. We will continue to strive to improve care quality and safety for patients undergoing intravenous cancer therapy.




1. Cancer facts & figures 2012. American Cancer Society Web site. Accessed June 25, 2012. [Context Link]


2. Institute of Medicine (IOM). The future of nursing: leading change, advancing health. Published October 2010. Accessed June 25, 2012. [Context Link]