Dana-Farber nurses present research and evidence-based practice projects at 2023 Oncology Nursing Society Congress

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute nurse scientists and clinicians are presenting key studies and projects at the 48th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress, on April 26-30, 2023, in San Antonio, TX.

The ONS Congress is the largest, most comprehensive oncology nursing conference in the country, featuring nurse-led presentations that highlight the intersection of clinical knowledge, research, direct patient care and advocacy resulting in innovation.

At this year’s Congress, Dana-Farber will be recognized with the Outstanding Employer Award acknowledging employers who honor and show exemplary support for their oncology nurses.

“Dana-Farber is thrilled to be honored by the Oncology Nursing Society with the 2023 Employer of the Year Award,” said Anne Gross, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Dana-Farber. “We are so proud of our clinical nurses and nurse scientists who are leading the field with their research and evidence-based practice efforts, several of which will be presented in San Antonio during the ONS Congress.”

Notable presentations by Dana-Farber nurses and researchers include:

Utilization of an escape room to enhance new hire infusion nurse orientation

Adding games or game-like elements to nursing education can help make orientation for new hires engaging and informative as well as increase knowledge retention. Dana-Farber’s Lauren McGovern, RN, is presenting the outcomes of the implementation of an escape room as part of orientation for newly hired oncology nurses. Topics incorporated into the escape room included locating policy manuals, programming chemotherapy into a smart infusion pump, and responding to a hazardous drug spill. Specific answers to an open-ended question at the end of the orientation demonstrated that reaction to the use of the escape room as a learning tool was highly favorable. Due to the positive feedback additional escape rooms are being developed.

Development of a tool to assess for ifosfamide induced neurotoxicity

Ifosfamide is a cytotoxic, antineoplastic drug used to manage and treat various cancers such as lymphoma, sarcoma, and lung cancer.Patients with multi-day high dose ifosfamide regimens may present with symptoms of neurotoxicity that lead to life threatening encephalopathy. Previously was no tool in use to monitor for this neurotoxicity. A multidisciplinary team at Dana-Farber using high dose ifosfamide to treat patients with sarcoma developed a systematic tool to detect the early signs of neurotoxicity associated with the treatment. This first-in-use tool identified early onset neurological changes, such as drowsiness and poor recall. This allowed for earlier intervention by the medical oncologists that mitigated the risk of severe encephalopathy and lead to positive patient outcomes. The daily assessment was used at 88.5% of visits and the tool captured 6 incidences of neurotoxicity out of 48 patients. There was positive concordance with use of the tool by the multidisciplinary team.

Centering the Voices of African American Parents: Perspectives on psychosocial needs and support systems during childhood cancer

Research efforts in developing parent-level psychosocial interventions in pediatric oncology primarily emphasize the experiences of white, non-Hispanic families. Given the context of racism within the U.S. operating at systemic, institutional, and interpersonal levels, African American parents face disproportionate inequities not limited to financial strains and material hardship that compound existing chronic stress in families affected by childhood cancer. This study sought to elicit perspectives related to the psychosocial needs of African American parents of children with cancer. Emerging themes identify strained finances and material hardships as significant psychosocial stressors and systematic identification of material needs and actions to remediate these stressors may also ease psychosocial distress. Much of the coping mechanisms (bible-reading, prayers, and talking to loved ones) these parents employed occurred outside the healthcare system. Whether this reflects suboptimal communication support within healthcare environments has important implications for psychosocial intervention development. Race discordant care was also identified as a significant psychosocial stressor among these African American parents.

The effect of infusion rate titration on taxane-related hypersensitivity: An evidence-based practice project

Taxanes, paclitaxel and docetaxel, are very effective in treating several types of cancer, but are among the chemotherapies that cause the highest rates of hypersensitivity. This evidence-based practice project at Dana-Farber found a three-step gradual rate titration of these medications during the first and second lifetime exposures decreased the rate of reactions by almost three-fold when compared to non-titrated doses. More patients were able to complete preferred treatments, avoid treatment delays and avoid the distress, hospitalization or death that can result from reactions. Careful consideration of quality and safety standards within the care delivery system were key to practice implementation and sustainability institute wide.

Additionally, Dana-Farber’s Rachel Pozzar, PhD, RN, a nurse scientist in the Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services at Dana-Farber and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, has been awarded the 2023 Victoria Mock New Investigator Award.

This prestigious award is given to a single candidate annually. It recognizes the contributions of new investigators in building a scientific foundation for oncology nursing practice.

Pozzar will give the Victoria Mock New Investigator lecture during the ONS Congress on Thursday, April 29, 2023, at 8:15am ET.

For all ONS Congress-related media inquiries, call or email Victoria Warren, 617-939-5531Victoria_Warren@dfci.harvard.edu. Follow the meeting live on Twitter using the hashtag #ONSCongress and follow Dana-Farber News on Twitter at @DanaFarberNews.


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