onco small “The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.” ~William Osler, MD (1849-1919). In a span of just 2 weeks, three major educational programs designed for oncology nurses were held around the capital city of Manila in the Philippines.

All the three conferences brought together not only oncology nurses from different institutions, functional areas or specializations (outpatient/inpatient, clinical/academic, medical oncology/radiation oncology, administrative/education/ direct patient care) but included physician champions and healthcare administrators as well. Participants to these events have witnessed first-hand what is now increasingly reported in the healthcare literature- that health care delivered by nurses, physicians, and other health professionals working together in teams not only improves quality, but also leads to better patient outcomes, greater patient satisfaction, improved efficiency, and increased job satisfaction on the part of the health professionals (The Macy Report, 2010).

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Advances in the science of oncology brought about many challenges not only to the health care providers caring for the patients, but to the patients and their families as well. Being the pivotal professional, the nurse is in a critical position to orchestrate a multidisciplinary care to optimally meet the needs of the patients and their families. The aim of the convention, held on January 17-18, 2013 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in the Malate district of Manila, was to provide nurses with clinical and related information that will position them as necessary and integral contributors in providing competent and humane care to oncology patients. The two-day session allowed nurses to update and network with one another to discuss, share and expand their resources as they navigate through the many challenges facing them in their daily practice. Mary Magee Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN®, FAAN, President of the Oncology Nursing Society (USA) and Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta, Georgia was the Keynote Speaker for the event, which also marked the 20th year anniversary of the PONA. Course faculty included Ayda Nambayan, DSN, RN 2012 recipient of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Pearl Moore International Award for Contributions to Cancer Care and currently a Consultant for Advanced Education and Professional Training and Director of Nursing Education and Research at The Cancer Center, Makati Medical Center and Marlon Garzo Saria, MSN, RN, AOCNS. Also in attendance were Antonio H. Villalon, MD, FPCP, FPSMO, FACP, known as the Father of Medical Oncology in the Philippines and one of the founders of PONA; Gracieux Fernando, MD, MHPEd; Renato De Villa, PhD; and Carmencita Abaquin, RN, MN, PhD, founding President of PONA and current Chair of the Board of Nursing in the Philippines.  

onco3 smallThe annual convention of the PSNO was held from January 25-27, 2013 at the historic Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City, Philippines. The participants were mostly neurologists and neurosurgeons as neuro-oncology is a relatively new subspecialty in the Philippines. Speakers included Caterina Giannini, MD, PhD from Mayo Clinic; Stuart Grossman, MD from Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center; David Reardon, MD from Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Sith Saturnsumethee, MD from Bangkok Hospital. Local speakers included Dr. Julette Marie Batara, Dr. Manuel Mariano, and Dr. Roy Torcuator. Marlon Garzo Saria was the only non-physician speaker who was invited to facilitate a Quality of Life workshop that was attended by the nursing staff from the Cancer Institute (CI) of the Philippine General Hospital. With the support of the CI Director, Dr. Jose M. Ignacio who was in attendance, CI nurses will start developing evidence-based

onco smallSt. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) will be the first medical institution in the Philippines to be staffed by ONS Chemotherapy and Biotherapy providers after 30 nurses attended the 2-day course on January 27-28, 2013. This course provides nurses with a comprehensive overview of chemotherapy and biotherapy and includes information on newly approved drugs (available at the time of publication) to keep nurses apprised of the latest developments in drug therapy. Participants received 13.5 contact hours of continuing nursing education upon completion of the course which would qualify them for initial oncology nursing certification through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. Charity Viado- Gorospe, MD, Director of the Cancer Institute at SLMC Global City welcomed the participants to the course and encouraged the nursing staff to take a leadership role in improving the care and management of cancer patients through evidence- based nursing practice and to pursue research and evidence-based projects in oncology nursing.