The Harbor Herald
Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society
Volume 19 Number 2
Insiide thiis iissue::
Ins de th s ssue
President’s message Page
Important Chapter Reminders Page 2-
2009 ONS Congress Update Page
Goodbye and Thank You Barbara Page 5-
I’m Stronger than Cancer Page
ONS News Page 10-13
About GBCONS & Upcoming events Page 14
A Message from the President Sally Brown RN
While I sit writing this message, one of our chapter members is
spending the weekend as a camp nurse. Another is a camp counselor.
Sandy Beam and Maria Brady are giving their weekend to help at
Camp Face. Dr. Craig Vander Kolk who is Associate Director of Plastic
Surgery at Mercy founded Camp Face in 1993. This is a camp for
children with congenital facial differences. “FACE” stands for Finding
Anonymity in a Camping Environment.
While I know that Sandy and Maria are gifting their time, I would like
to think that they are not the only chapter members who gift their
time to help others. Barbara Van de Castle is exploring options for
chapter members to support the chapter and the American Cancer
Society by giving time. Barb contacted ACS and has sent a message
to chapter members that listed possibilities. Marie Getz attended one
of these opportunities. It was an ACS volunteer orientation session.
Last June, Barb Van de Castle assisted at the ACS booth during
Baltimore Pride 2008.
Look for messages from Barb about more opportunities to give your
time. During economic times where monetary giving becomes
more difficult, giving of time is a way to continue to give.
The Harbor Herald has been paperless for at least three years. We are
trying to go paperless for Membership Meeting announcements. The
board is exploring methods of electronic communication. ONS has a
virtual community for each chapter. We reactivated GBCONS’s a year
ago. It allows the Board to communicate with ONS members who
subscribe to the GBCONS announcements and store chapter
documents. If you received this newsletter, you do subscribe to
chapter announcements. If you know a chapter member who does
not receive announcements from the chapter (the address is my work
email address), please have that member contact Barb Van de Castle
or me. We will be happy to help them subscribe to virtual community
President-elect, Karen Oleszewski has investigated using a Google List
serve. You may have received a message from Google in May. This is
still a work in progress. It appears that members must each join the
group. We are looking for a method that will not require extra
keystrokes by members. If you are more Internet savvy than we are,
please send any ideas or information to a board member.
We are going paperless by 2010.
Important Chapter Reminders Sally Brown
Have you had big professional event in your life this year? We would like to be able to
recognize your achievement. But we are not able to do this unless we know about it. Please send me a
quick email that provides your name, institution, and achievement. If the achievement is a presentation or
publication, please provide the organization, publication, and title. The achievement does not have to be
publication of an article or chapter, poster, or podium presentation. It could be a promotion, a new
certification, a graduation, or serving on a committee or advisory board. If you know of someone who has
had an achievement, send me the name and achievement, I will contact them if I need additional
information. My email address is email@example.com.
I look forward to receiving information about what GBCONS members have been doing this year.
Annual Bus Trip to New York City
The annual bus trip to NYC is planned for September 12, 2009. Flyers have been
sent via the U.S Mail and are available on the virtual community and
GBCONS.org. The trip is the same, meet at a park and ride, either at Cromwell
Bridge or Bel Air, ride to NYC, spend the afternoon in the NYC in the activity of
your choice and planning, and join fellow travelers for the ride home around 6:30 pm.
There is a registration form this year to assist Mary Ellen McFadden in the
coordination. The registration form asks if you are a member, are you an oncology
certified nurse, where will you be boarding the bus, and a contact phone number.
Several times, the buses have been held waiting for people who were not going to
attend, but had not contacted Mary Ellen.
For the third year, the chapter is able to offer a free round trip to NYC for members
who are certified oncology nurses. This is for the first 50 oncology certified nurses
who submit their registration form and payment. The check will be returned when the
certified nurse is on board the bus. If you do not board the bus, the check will be
deposited. If you are an oncology certified nurse and plan to travel with non-members,
please provide two checks, one to cover the cost of the non-members, non-certified
nurses and one for you.
Some friends plan ahead and bring a picnic dinner with them to enjoy on the ride
home. You are able to spend longer enjoying the city when you know that your dinner
and beverages are waiting on the bus for you.
We look forward to seeing many of you on the trip this year.
Attending the 29th ANNUAL ONS Congress in San Antonio, Texas April 30- May 3,
Sue Markus, RN
One never knows quite what to expect at the annual ONS Congress. From the
perspective of an old timer, there was good news and there was bad news. We
all wondered and ended up talking about the impact of the current economic
situation on ONS Congress. Will it be as well attended as other Congresses?
How will the revised Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
(PhARMA) Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals impact the
traditional trips attendees make to the exhibit halls? What changes has ONS
made in response to the changing financial and economic climate? Was the
swine flu threat going to impact attendance?
What was different? From the attendee’s perspective, there were some
noticeable differences between this and past Congresses. Not carrying a
syllabus to Congress was a definite first. Not being able to read through the
content and copies of specific power point slide presentations until arrival was
another. Clearly there were fewer attendees, estimated at 6000. There were
nurses from all over the world participating as presenters and attendees. There
were no crowds to fight on escalators or through doorways getting into popular
sessions. It was easy to get a favored end of the isle seat in many of the
sessions or to determine where to sit based on personal preference rather than
seat availability. The ONCC oasis and relaxation center was a stripped down
version of years past. There were less R & R resources and what felt like less
The major impact of the revised PhARMA Guidelines was seen in the exhibit hall.
It was oh, so quiet! You could look down on the exhibit hall floor from a upper
level windowed walkway and see the vendors sitting alone at their tables and
pharmaceutical representative milling around on their plush carpeted designated
spaces with few, sometimes no attendees to talk with. The grid of walkways
among the exhibits were scattered with attendees moseying along without
concern for fighting crowds. There were no overstuffed labeled canvas bags,
rolling carts stuffed with treasured collections of giveaways, and only an
occasional bowl of individually wrapped candies. No, the munchies that sufficed
for light lunch or mid afternoon snack and free pens are gone. On more than one
occasion, the disappointing of not being able to bring back pens, carrying bags,
and trinkets for coworkers was heard.
Since my first attendance at Congress almost 30 years ago, this was the first
time I saw Congress as less than it has been in the past, not more. This is not
to say it was less valuable. On the contrary, it was more relaxed and easier to
What’s the same?
The organization and planning efforts were extremely well done, as it is every
year. Among the well thought out strategies was having the syllabus divided do
that only part of it was needed each day. Offering off site excursions is always
helpful. There was more than adequate explanation and access to information.
Signage was extremely helpful. Time allocation for breaks and duration of
sessions were reasonable.
Convention center walking requirements were the same. Sessions you want to
go are always at opposite ends of the convention center. The format was the
same. The Keynote address was again inspiring and validating for all oncology
nurses with Geralyn Lucas expressing the appreciation so many others have
expressed for what we, as oncology nurses do. There were Special sessions,
Instructional sessions, Discussion sessions, Podium sessions and Moderated
Podium sessions, and Poster sessions. There were SIG meetings and the
Business meeting. The sessions covered everything from advocacy and
authorization for clinical trials to translational research and vitamins. There was
the plug for internationalization of oncology nursing and recognition of need to
embrace global healthcare efforts.
At every Congress I have attended, there has been a quiet undercurrent of unity
among attendees and a sense of belonging. While we enjoy the break from our
everyday challenges and schedule, at each Congress, we also get to glimpse of
the scope of what we, as oncology nurses, do. Congress provides the unique
opportunity to network with peers, delve into unfamiliar aspects of oncology,
meet experts, make new contacts, explore professional alternatives, and above
all receive affirmation for being an oncology nurse.
What I come away with is the impact of the stories told by the authors whether it
be their clinical practice, their advanced understanding of biologic processes and
awareness of new technologies, or approaches to management within health
care realm. I am eager for the next year’s Congress and am hopeful that the
economy will be on an upswing, we have adapted to relating to our
pharmaceutical peers differently, there will be no health concern like this year’s
swine flu, and that those who are interested in attending will have the resources
to afford the registration, travel and other costs associated with attending the 35th
Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress, May 13-16, 2010, in San Diego,
Good Bye and Thank You, Barbara Sally Brown
As my class began the “nursing” portion of our education, the school changed the
curriculum and the teaching methods. They were talking about circles and how the
circles connected with and affected other circles. It made sense, but who wanted to
listen about circles, we wanted to learn how to take care of sick people. But, those
educators did know what they were talking about and those circles continue to apply
to our daily lives. Each of us functions within many different circles that have minimal
overlap. The only thing that some circles may have in common is you.
If that is true, how much do we really know about our fellow GBCONS members? I
have been a member of GBCONS since 1996. Barbara Poniatowski was an active
member when I joined. In fact, she was chapter president in 1998. Barbara is moving
to Florida and will no longer be an active member of our community. But how well
does each of us know Barb?
A quick Google search revealed interesting facts about Barbara; some very true, some
possibly true, and some not true. First thing I found was that there is a community
(more like an intersection of two county roads and fours houses) in Wisconsin about 2
hours west of Green Bay named Poniatowski.
I discovered that a Barbara Poniatowski has been an elementary school teacher and
has graduated from Aiea High School in Aiea, Hawaii and St. Helens School in Chicago.
A Barbara Poniatowski belongs to the Special Virtual Assistants Club, is interested in
horses with the AHS, and is a governing member of the BSO. The search revealed that
a Barbara Poniatowski coordinated making wreaths for the Christmas holidays to
decorate the houses in her community (I think that this one is true).
Barbara Gentile and I first meet Barbara when we worked at University of Maryland
and she was the Oncology Clinical Specialist at GBMC. We traveled out to the county
to attend excellent educational offerings at GBMC coordinated by Barbara. Barb has
always been a vocal supporter of nursing research. At GBMC, she encouraged nursing
research and worked with Vicki Mock to conduct nursing research long before
evidence-based practice was the buzzword. She is a champion of nursing certification.
I remember sitting at a front table for the ONCC Recognition Breakfast when GBMC
won the first ever Employer Recognition Award.
The Google search revealed that while some chapter members know that Barb has
been active in ONS national, they may not have known that she has presented at the
Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses 13th Annual Convention. She has served on the
Education Subcommittee of the Maryland Commission on the Crisis in Nursing, and has
presented at ASCO.
The search showed that Barbara has presented numerous times at ONS Congress and
for the chapter. She has authored, co-authored, and edited numerous publications.
She is a graduate of the ONS Leadership Development Institute. She is a member of
the ONS the Staff Education SIG and Pharmaceutical/Industry Nursing (SIG). She
served as the newsletter editor for the Staff Education SIG from 2001 to 2003.
After Barb completed her year as GBCONS President, she continued her involvement
with the chapter by serving as co-chairman of the continuing education committee.
After resigning as chairperson, she continued to serve the committee as a consultant.
She has provided her educational expertise to meeting planning and the OCN Review
Course. For the past several years, Barb has provided the Test Taking portion of the
OCN Review. She has presented at numerous chapter dinners. Barb has been involved
in many of the chapter’s basket bingos.
Since leaving GBMC, Barbara has worn two hats in our chapter. The first hat is as a
nurse member. Her second hat is her role as Senior Clinical Educator with
GlaxoSmithKline. GlaxoSmithKline, through Barb, has frequently provided the
breakfasts and/or lunches for the chapter’s half-day symposia or OCN Review Course.
She has facilitated the support of educational meetings and exhibit tables at meetings.
She has provided oncology related books to the chapter for use as door prizes.
Barbara has given the intangible. She has given freely of her knowledge and expertise.
She has mentored many of us. It hasn’t been formal, but she was always there when
we had a question, either concerning chapter matters or GlaxoSmithKline. She even
answered the phone and questions the afternoon she had surgery. That is Barbara;
always ready to share her knowledge. Barb (and other nurse-industry representatives)
has provided insight into the “dark side”. The rules that govern the industry
representatives have changed many times over the last several years. Barb has been
able to provide insight into the implication of the changes for the chapter.
She has worked behind the scenes in the chapter for many years, but each one of us
has benefited. She will be missed. She and Conrad have sold their house and are
moving to Florida. While we would like to think that we are the only circle in her life,
we know that we aren’t. Barb has many circles to close. Unknown to her, and us, she
attended her last GBCONS in March.
As President of GBCONS, I want to thank her for all her contributions to the chapter.
As a nurse, I want to thank her for her contributions to the nursing profession and the
professionalism of nursing. As an individual, I want to thank Barbara for her willingness
to share her knowledge and her support.
If you would like to send Barb a card of thanks or best wishes, please send to
Barbara Poniatowski c/o GBCONS PO Box 18417 Baltimore, MD 21237. The chapter
will forward these to Barbara.
Barbara, Thank you for connecting with one of my circles and best wishes in creating
many more circles during your new adventures.
I’m Stronger than Cancer ……………Pamela Trombero, BSHA, AAB, CRA
Working in the field of oncology research sheds new light on caring for
cancer patients. For most, there is the hope of cure, for others, we can only hope
that research and development will buy enough time to spend quality of life with
their loved ones. When a healthcare provider is diagnosed with cancer, then we
can fully understand the fears and emotions that a patient feels, with the biggest
fear being the unknown.
In February of 2004 I landed the best job of my life; I was hired as a
Clinical Research Associate (CRA) in the field of oncology research. I looked at,
read about, and assisted the Research Nurse in caring for cancer patients
everyday. For two years we worked side by side; together we witnessed positive
outcomes and we grieved the ones we lost to cancer.
In February of 2006 I walked into the office complaining of right upper
quadrant pain; sort of. I was not sure where the pain was coming from, but I
knew it was not normal. The nurse I worked with insisted I go to the emergency
department; of course being a healthcare provider, I did not want to go. In the
end I went, and this is where my story begins and my life changed. A chest-x-ray
revealed a 1.9 cm lung mass in the upper left lobe of my left lung. When I
received the news from my PCP I was shocked, and from this point forward
everything seemed to move quickly. I had every test imaginable and in the end I
was diagnosed with small-cell-lung-cancer. I couldn’t die, I had just started
college the year before, and I was preparing to sit for my Certified Clinical
Research Professional (CCRP) certification.
I remember the “cancer staging” and going to the medical oncologist for
the first time. I had the brain MRI and hour prior to my first visit; Dr. Chang
requested a wet reading of the scan. When he walked into the room he said,
“Good news, there’s nothing up there”. I was sure he was referring to cancer and
not my brain. I spent an hour with Dr. Chang that day, we discussed the
treatment regimen and I was fortunate enough to have surgery as curative
measure. I was disappointed when he told me that I needed to take a break from
school for at least six months in order to get through treatments and surgery.
Granted, the chemotherapy knocked me for a loop, and after three months
I could not stay away from school. I decided that if I were going to die, it would at
least be with an Associates degree. Against Dr. Chang’s better judgment and
unbeknownst to him, I went back to school because I was determined to be
stronger than cancer. By September of 2006 my cancer treatments and surgery
were behind me, and in October of 2006 I earned my Associates of Arts in
Business. In December of 2006 I sat for the CCRP certification exam and passed
with flying colors; I was obviously not affected by chemo-brain since I opted to
continue learning during my treatments. In January of 2007 I began my Bachelor
of Science in Healthcare Administration degree and graduated with my BSHA in
June of 2009.
We all have dreams and goals in life, and although cancer is “big”, I made
it my personal goal to be stronger and bigger than this disease. Cancer was not
going to stop me from achieving my education goals and what means the most to
me in my professional life. If it were not for Carol Perry, RN, BSN pushing me to
go the emergency department back in February of 2006 I may not be here today,
celebrating my personal achievements and my life.
ONS Speaker Training Workshop -
Just for Nurses!
Join us on Friday, July 17, in Pittsburgh,
PA, for this hands-on speaker training
workshop that focuses on the delivery
of nursing content. You will learn
through discussion, practice, and
personal coaching, from nationally
recognized nurse presenters. Improve
your skills, step-by-step, throughout the
day and leave ready to connect with
your audience! This one-day CNE
workshop is for both new and seasoned
speakers. Learn to convey nursing
information so that it sticks! Time is
short, so contact ONS today for
details! The Speaker Training Workshop
is funded by the ONS Foundation
Important Chapter Opportunity to
Host Free Regional Program
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and
vomiting (CINV) remains one of the
most distressing symptoms that patients
report following chemotherapy. Control
of CINV: Sparking Change in your
Practice will provide you with an
overview of the physiological
mechanisms of CINV and the traditional
and novel therapies for prevention and
control. Plus, you will learn about the
current evidence-based interventions for
CINV and how to integrate these into
your daily practice. To schedule this free
program for your chapter or institution,
contact ONS toll free at 866-257-4667,
ext. 6339, or email
firstname.lastname@example.org, and include
the title of the program in the subject
Win Big! Record How This Course
Changed Your Practice
If you have taken the ONS’s
Reimbursement for Nurses: The Keys to
Successful Coding course and it was
beneficial—Show Us! Have you
changed your practice or realized cost
savings as a result of taking this
course? Has your whole department or
office made changes? Have you utilized
course information in staff meetings?
This is your chance to win a $100 ONS
gift certificate by posting your
experiences for us to share! Here’s what
to do: First, make a video clip showing
or explaining how the course has
changed your practice or helped realize
cost savings. Then, post it on YouTube
and email the link to your clip to
email@example.com by July 8. We’ll
review them all and post the winning clip
on the ONS Web site. Be creative—let
us see you in action!
Congress Topic Submissions – Due
Use this opportunity to become a
session coordinator and submit
innovative and intriguing topics for the
ONS 35th Annual Congress, May 13-16
in San Diego. Submissions are due 5
pm EST, on Thursday, July 2.
Prepare Now! AOCNP /AOCNS
Register today for a convenient and
affordable way to prepare for the
AOCNP or AOCNS certification
examination. Both online courses are
designed to equip advanced practice
oncology nurses with the information
they need to help pass their certification
tests. These instructive courses
streamline how you prepare for these
important certification exams and are
self-paced for your convenience. They
each begin July 7, so register now for
one of these career-facilitating courses.
Enhanced Reimbursement Course
for Nurses and Managers
Now enhanced with two new detailed
modules of critical and cutting edge
information, a wealth of new practice
scenarios and a detailed toolkit,
Reimbursement for Nurses and
Managers: The Keys to Successful
Practice guides both staff nurses and
their managers through the complex
reimbursement system! This useful
course replaces and enhances the
former Reimbursement for Nurses: The
Keys to Successful Coding. This web
course is appropriate for new managers,
clinical coordinators, office managers,
practice administrators, staff nurses,
and anyone who needs to fully
understand this process. The self-paced
enhanced course begins July 7, so don’t
miss out—register now!
Get Ready for Your OCN Exam
Certification is a standard by which
many oncology nurses are critiqued. It
indicates that a nurse’s knowledge base
is well beyond entry level and current.
Enroll in the OCN Review Web
course today and find quality resources
that you need to prepare for the OCN
exam. Get detailed review information,
practice tips, and test-taking strategies
on your own computer. This course is
based on the certification bulletin and
will provide you with an in-depth review
of the information you'll see on your
certification test. Certification does
make a difference!
Lung Cancer Web course Provides
Nursing staffs, students and coworkers
need to be the best at what they do—it
benefits everyone! Take the ONS Site-
Specific Cancer Series: Lung Cancer
Online Course to receive cutting-edge
information and an in-depth
understanding of the care of these
challenging patients. Get knowledge
that affects your practice plus earn
valuable contact hours. If you have an
interest in understanding the
complexities of lung cancer diagnosis,
treatment, and symptom management,
this course is tailor-made for you!
Register today for this important course.
Cancer Basics –Essentials You Need
Regardless of your role in oncology
healthcare, the convenient Cancer
Basics web course provides you with a
concentrated, self-paced program
designed for nurses and other
healthcare professionals new to
oncology practice, experienced nurses
seeking review information, industry
representatives, nursing instructors,
nursing students, case managers, and
insurance company claims reviewers.
Learn the fundamentals of cancer
treatment, management of cancer-
related symptoms, and much more. Plus
earn 6.4 contact hours from the
comfort of your home.
OCN® certified nurses are wanted for nominees for the
Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) Board
of Directors Election.
ONCC is calling for nominations for one position on the
ONCC Board of Directors that will be open for election in
November 2009. This position is open only to nurses who
are OCN® certified. The position is for a three-year term
that will begin June 1, 2010. Learn more about the position
by downloading the nomination packet. Completed
nomination packets must be returned to ONCC by July 23,
A slate of candidates will be announced in the fall, and
online voting will begin in November 2009. You can shape
the future of oncology certification by submitting a
nomination for yourself, or encouraging a qualified
colleague to consider the position.
GBCONS Board of Directors 2009-2010
Sally Brown Karen Oleszewski
Katy Swanson Gina Syzmanski
Directors at Large Program Committee Membership
Nancy Corbitt Donna Landers Margie Tillett
JoAnn Coleman Judy Seipp
The Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society (GBCONS) is now in it’s 26
year. The chapter became a reality in 1983, and is currently 218 members strong. The mailing
PO BOX 18471
Baltimore, MD 21237
Newsletter submissions or inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
***** 2009 Chapter Upcoming Events*****
Volunteer opportunities exist…….please think about helping your Chapter
achieve it’s goals!
August 11: Member’s Crab Feast
September 12: NYC Bus trip (See details within this newsletter)
September 26 and October 3: OCN Review Course: Franklin Square: $25
members/$50 non-members: 11.4 CE’s
October 14: Dinner meeting: Topic-Pancreatic CA
November 20: Basket Bingo: Tall Cedars of Lebanon Hall-Parkville
December 8: Members only Dinner meeting