|The following article is part of the Oncology Nurse Advisor 10-year anniversary celebration. Click here to read more articles celebrating the milestone.
“The value of nursing is almost inestimable.” — The Lancet.1
Today marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, an annual event that continues through May 12, the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. During this week, celebratory events help grateful patients and fellow clinicians honor and thank those who respond to the same calling that guided the founder of modern nursing practice. This year, more than ever, National Nurses Week has taken on special meaning for several reasons.
Firstly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has shown the world that nurses are the cornerstone of health care. In addition, and a little closer to home for us, this is also the year that Oncology Nurse Advisor (ONA) celebrates 10 years of service to oncology nurses.
Year of the Nurse 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910). WHO has chosen this milestone to mark 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.2 The WHO has partnered with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the International Council of Nurses (ICN), Nursing Now, a global campaign to increase the status of nursing, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to bring awareness to the challenging conditions that nurses face and to advocate for increased investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce.2
Pandemics and the Need for Nurses The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on nurses’ role within the health care team, but organizations throughout the world are working together to further investments in nurse education, workforce, and leadership.2 The WHO, the ICN, and the Nursing Now campaign published a landmark paper entitled “State of the World’s Nursing 2020” to define and support the role of nurses in patient care and world health care goals.3 Furthermore, in its efforts toward universal health coverage throughout the world, the WHO is collaborating with various organizations to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). The nursing workforce is a key part of this objective.
10 Years of Service In reminiscing through the first issue of ONA, which was published in May 2010, I came across an Issues in Cancer Survivorship column that explained how a cancer center in Seattle, Washington, managed the H1N1 influenza outbreak — an eerily similar situation to the beginnings of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Also in that first issue, the cover story discussed the controversy over a recent-at-that-time update to the US Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendations for breast cancer screening mammography.4 A topic that we’ve continued to cover numerous times in the years that have followed.
Other notable articles that have stood the test of time include a patient’s perspective on melanoma, an explanation of palliative care and hospice, and our most widely read article, “Large-volume IM injections: A review of best practices.” The latter has been recommended reading between nurses since its publication in February 2013.
Over the years, ONA has worked diligently to keep up with the changes in oncology and cancer care. Not only has ONA evolved with the changes in nursing, how we deliver our content has also changed, as we are bringing more of our content to our website quicker to give you, the reader, access to this information as close to real time as possible. Beyond this, in 2015 we launched the ONA Navigation Summit, a live, educational event focused on the unique challenges to navigating patients with cancer from diagnosis through survival. As with many other events, this too is transitioning to a virtual event.
Look for retrospectives on 10 years of oncology nursing and survivorship care later this month, as well as an interview with immediate past Oncology Nursing Society President Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC. In addition, throughout the remainder of 2020, ONA will continue to publish articles that both reflect on the past 10 years and build toward the future.
As we reflect on our 10 year anniversary, we’d like to congratulate all of our readers on the outstanding achievements made individually and collectively and for upholding incredible standards in patient care. Here’s to the International Year of the Nurse!
1. The Lancet. 2020: unleashing the full potential of nursing [Editorial]. Lancet. 2019;394(10212):1879.
2. Year of the nurse and the midwife 2020. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/year-of-the-nurse-and-the-midwife-2020. Accessed May 5, 2020.
3. World Health Organization, International Council of Nurses, Nursing Now. State of the World’s Nursing 2020: Investing in Education, Jobs and Leadership. World Health Organization; 2020.
4. Frei R. Navigating the tempest over breast cancer screening. Oncol Nurs Advisor. 2010;1(1):22-25.