EONS updates

    November 2014

    Wendy Oldenmenger, member of the EONS Research Working Group, shares this month’s Research News Update.

    It’s Fall and then it’s a busy time but also inspiring with all new ideas for next year. The deadline to submit proposals for this year’s EONS Research Travel Grant was 31 October. If you missed this year’s deadline, save the date for when applications open again next year: September 30th, 2015.

    This year’s research travel grant went to:

    • Petra Stolz, Baskett, Switzerland
    • Allison Harrow, UK

    Check the Research Travel Grant page to see what they will do with this grant, to inspire you and your colleagues for next year.

    And don’t forget to check the Research Proposal Workshop page to see the date (probably late May 2015) of the 4th Research Proposal Workshop. Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands. There will be great facilitators. This is an interesting workshop for all Oncology nurses who are interested to start their own study. We like to encourage oncology nurses to join the workshop, experienced or not in performing research, and who may be uncertain to write a research proposal. But also PhD students, more experienced nurses etc. are invited to join the workshop. The goal of this workshop is to translate a clinical problem into a research proposal. Closing date for registration will be January 31, 2015.

    For all candidates who have already followed one of the earlier workshops: one of these weeks you will be approached to fill in a questionnaire to evaluate what you have done after the workshop. With this information we will adjust the content of the workshop to make it even more useful for the participants. Do not forget to return the questionnaire.

    June 2013

    Eileen O’Donovan, co-chair of the EONS Communications Working Group, shares an update from the group’s recent meeting in Brussels. The meeting took place on 10 July 2013.

    Members of the EONS Communications Working Group pictured in their July 2013 Meeting

    Promoting a sense of community amongst cancer nurses across Europe is a central aim of the work of EONS and communication is central to this process. By communicating effectively we want to ensure that you are able to access relevant information and support as well as share your achievements and concerns.

    We communicate with our members through a variety of tools and platforms such as our website, enewsletter, magazine and via your national societies. The communications working group have identified some key priorities and have been focusing on the following:

    • EONS Website: a new upgraded homepage will be launched shortly
    • Social media: we recently started a pilot activity of EONS Facebook and Twitter . Please follow us and receive all our most up to date information and news .
    • E-newsletter has been a great forum for the ‘National Society Focus’, giving us updates on the various societies’ activities around Europe.
    • Website activity is now being analysed and is a very useful report in comparing the trends and activity of the website.
    • EONS Magazine has a newly appointed magazine editor. The next edition will focus on Rare Cancers and will be available at the upcoming ECCO congress in September. We also plan to publish a dedicated ECCO congress edition later this year.

    Anita Margulies, Chair of the EONS Education Working Group, has some great news about the EONS Cancer Nursing Curriculum.

    Many of you have been asking if this excellent resource will be soon updated and ready for implementation. Our answer is “YES”! The work on the EONS Cancer Nursing Curriculum 2013 is completed and the new layout being planned.

    Education needs to respond to the changing nature of cancer epidemiology and multi-modality management with increasing cancer survival across Europe. The revised curriculum recognises the fundamental skills for nurses post initial registration and is seen as the core requirement for nursing competence for those who are working within the field of oncology.

    The EONS Cancer Nursing Curriculum was initially developed in 1991 with funding from the European Union’s Europe Against Cancer (EAC) programme. It was revised in 1998, 2005 and now in 2013. This curriculum has remained the basis for European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) accreditation over the past twelve years. The curriculum provides information on the rationale for a post-registration course in cancer nursing in a modular framework.

    The contents are meant as a guide for curricula development for all nursing education programs whether for nurses working in cancer centers or in general practice/hospital settings.

    EONS will be presenting it at the ECCO 17 conference in Amsterdam this September as well. The Post-Basic Core Curriculum will be available through EONS secretariat, Rudi Brike, within the next few months.

    Daniel Kelly, outgoing EONS Treasurer, gives a snapshot of the current financial situation for EONS.

    This month we will be welcoming a new Treasurer (shortly to be announced) and congratulate Danny on his recent election as EONS President-Elect.

    Being Treasurer of a charity such as EONS requires information to be made available to members at regular intervals- such as during the Annual General Meeting and Advisory Council meeting. Usually this provides members with headline statements about how much money we have in reserves, how much we have spent, on what types of activities, and what the likely future pressures points will be.

    Nobody will be surprised to learn that EONS has had to monitor its expenses carefully over the last few years and there is always a balance to be struck between keeping too much money in the bank (after all, it is supposed to be used for members’ benefit) and spending too much.

    The reality of how the EONS Board works is that proposals for new projects or expenditure come in and are discussed, supported or rejected on the basis of the quality of the idea, its cost, its fit to the society strategy and values and its likely benefit. Not everything is affordable and the role of the Treasurer is to voice an opinion - keeping in mind the needs of members. For projects we have just designed a new proposal process that encourages a fuller consideration of the project, including all the costs likely to be involved. This is currently being piloted with existing projects and new request only; however, once the bugs have been edited out it will be going live, so watch out for this on the website.

    Recently we have seen a significant drop in financial support from pharmaceutical companies who are much less willing to invest than previously. However, we must keep looking for new supporters whilst not promoting particular products and this will be the goal for the coming few years. Similarly the revenue from adverts in journals has been more difficult due to financial restrictions in that sector. This means that we currently rely much more on our income from large events such as the European Cancer Congress and this is why we need you to register under the nursing category if you do attend. The more nurses who attend, the more money we will receive as our part of the profit share. This is simple economics and we do rely on your help to make it work for the benefit of your society, nurses and patients.

    I am looking forward to taking on the role as President-Elect in September and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in Amsterdam and at future events. Please do share with us any ideas you may have about how EONS can better meet your needs, or indeed if you have any good fundraising ideas to help us! They would be very welcome.

    May 2013

    Advocacy Working Group

    The May meeting of the Advocacy Working Group was concerned with a European directive on the recognition of professional qualifications.

    The EU Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted last year that it would be acceptable for nurses to have a general education of just ten years (minimum) before beginning nursing training. IMCO, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, also voted in favour.

    However, many groups believe that the minimum should be 12 years. Germany was very concerned that the vote for 10 years was made for financial, organizational, cultural and of course political reasons, rather than being based on what’s best for patients and the nursing profession.

    The effect of the directive has been to create a two-tier system where one route involves 12 years’ education (including higher education) and the other involves just ten years. Germany is concerned that adopting the commission’s proposal will mean a complete cultural change in the role of nurses.

    Three-way discussion meetings (trialogues) have now been organised to move the process forward as part of the EU formal decision-making procedure, which has strict rules. The three participants in the discussion are Presidency on behalf of the Council, the European Parliament and the Directorate General in charge of the dossier from the Commission side. The first Trialogue was in March, the second in April and the third in May. They dealt with issues such as professional recognition.

    ESNO, the European Specialist Nurse Organization (of which EONS is a member) is calling for the directive to include recognition of nursing specialisation. ESNO is backed by the EAHP (European Association of Hospital Pharmacists) and EBVS (European Board of Veterinary Association). The organisations created a joint briefing calling for the common training framework tool to be used for mutual recognition.

    The presidents of ESNO, EAHP and ESNO have also been lobbying the 27 Permanent Representatives of the European Union.

    ESNO has also written a briefing on nurse speciality recognition and the absolute need to remove point b of amendment 110, namely the 10 years general scholar prerequisite before commencing a nurse education. All organisations who are members of ESNO can send this briefing to their permanent national representatives at the EU commission.

    In conclusion: even though the directive was voted for, we are going on to make our voices heard at EU level in order to recognize the nurse speciality. We are also raising awareness of the need to have just one route into nursing - namely the 12 years - rather than a two-tier system. The final vote from the parliament will be in September.

    March 2013

    Board Meeting

    The EONS Executive Board of Directors had our Board meeting at the beginning of February 2013. As always the Board has a yearly strategy discussion and recognises the strong need for the Board to prioritise actions so the membership is able to see what EONS is actually doing.

    When I started as President, I had an expectation talk with every Board member, on challenges and goals for EONS and of course what they would like to bring to EONS, linked to their own role and responsibilities. The plan was to continue with these talks once a year, but due to time issues, the EONS Board have decided to have a one-hour Board talk before each meeting. Of course all incoming Board members will have an expectation talk with the current President.

    For the last 2-3 years the Board has worked to base the strategy around the four working groups - CARE; Communication, Advocacy, Research and Education. EONS now has a really competent project manager, Mariska Mooijekind, who is responsible for facilitating these groups. The results are really good. Every group has developed strategy and prioritized their work for 2013. They have a lot of new members from all over Europe.

    Prioritizing is the main issue when we are talking strategy. EONS gets so many proposals from all our stakeholders; to be part of conferences, projects, alliances, working groups, experts person for panels, etc. Most of the time it is really difficult to have enough information to make the right decisions and work out to whom the request should be forwarded. So we decided to develop an initial project proposal tool, with tick boxes to be completed online, which would be directed to the relevant Working Group (WG) for further follow-up. This would make it possible to see how many proposals each WG would receive, and determine the workload for each group.

    In the strategy talk the Board agreed that engagement with the Eastern European countries will be an EONS strategy priority. EONS acknowledges the need for this priority by referring to the Czech member of the Research WG which made obvious the cultural, language and financial barriers existing together with the fact that nurses are not recognised as a speciality in the Czech Republic and, though they are very active in the clinical setting, don’t have any authority. The need was stressed to develop a policy which would raise the profile of Eastern European nurses and engage with them.

    It was agreed to develop a proposal by the next Board meeting on how to increase engagement and raise the profile of Eastern European nurses.

    Birgitte Grube
    EONS President

    March 2013


    Participants at the EONS Education Working Group Meeting in January 2013

    On 17th January 2013, the EONS Education Working Group, held their first Face-to-face meeting at the EONS office in a snowy Brussels. Ten of us met representing six different European countries. Two colleagues representing a further two countries were unable to attend the meeting but will be actively involved with the group. The group members hail from different nursing backgrounds, including clinical, education and management but all have the common thread of cancer as a speciality.

    The group were updated on current EONS education projects, and then went on to discuss plans for possible projects. ‘Homework’ was effectively delegated to all members by the Chairs and the group returned to their respective countries enthused with plans for the future working of the group and for clinical and patient education for cancer care.

    February 2013


    Participants at the EONS Research Working Group Meeting

    The Research Working Group (RWG) has met for its first face-to-face meeting in the Royal Marsden Hospital in London on January 10-11, 2013. Eight out of currently nine members of the RWG were able to participate in person in this very productive meeting. (Of note: This working group can have up to 11 members; therefore all interested individuals, please, do not hesitate to apply!)

    After a warm welcome by the chairs Mary Wells and Danny Kelly and a brief introduction of every participant, the group then focused on reviewing the EONS CARE strategy and RWG activities to date. The day was closed by a very informative presentation on “Advances in cancer research” given by Theresa Wiseman (RWG member as well as the host.)

    On the second day of the meeting, the group first drafted together a position statement on research before splitting into two task groups. The first ‘Grants & Awards’ task group reviewed (a) the Major Research Grant (annual), (b) the Research Proposal Workshop (to continue every 18 months) and (c) the Research Travel Grant (new!). The second ‘Education’ task group (d) discussed the pros & cons of the Research Proposal Workshop, (e) brainstormed on forms of online education materials, and (f) made a proposal to record a research class during the Masterclass for on-line access.

    Before the end of the meeting, the RWG agreed on a timeline of agreed actions. Lastly, the group was invited for a site visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital guided by Theresa Wiseman. More details will follow soon on our EONS website.

    January 2013


    In a spirit of openness and accountability, the Communication Working Group has made its minutes available on the EONS website:
    +  View the Communications Working Group page

    This is so that members and other interested parties can more easily understand our aims and day-to-day work. Please note that the publication of minutes is for a trial period only and will be reviewed in 2013. If members are not accessing the minutes they may be removed at a later stage.

    The Communication Working Group was established at the end of 2011 and is co-chaired by Paul Trevatt (UK) and Eileen O’Donovan (Ireland). Membership is drawn from across Europe, in particular Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy.


    The Advocacy Working Group focuses on policy building at European level, raising awareness and gaining recognition for the position of cancer nursing in Europe. Recently we sent a snapshot survey to the Member Societies, examining the role and function of specialist cancer nurses. We have received responses from 20 member societies and thank you for your contributions.

    We have recently published our first position statement on The Role of Nurses in Cancer Care.
    +  View the position statement

    We also responded to European Directive 2006/35 (on the recognition of professional qualifications). The EU Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety ENVI (ENVI) voted on 6 November 2012 that it would be sufficient for nurses to have a general education of 10 years or more before beginning nursing training. We don’t believe that is realistic or acceptable, and we think the minimum should be 12 years. 12 years’ education is already a minimal requirement in all EU Member States except two. The trend is for all EU countries to move towards nurses being educated at bachelor level, according to the Bologna process.

    The quality and safety of healthcare depends on nurses being appropriately educated. We support the ESNO petition on this matter, available at www.esno.org.

    In support of the Communication Working Group, we are also publishing our minutes on the EONS website.
    +  View the Advocacy Working Group page


    The Research Working Group will hold its first face-to-face meeting at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London on 10 and 11 January, 2013. The aim of the meeting is to clarify the objectives of the Group for the next few years, how best to meet the needs of EONS members, and how to engage in research in the most useful way to benefit cancer nursing. A number of small task groups will then be formed which members may wish to join. More information about these task groups will be available after the meeting. Watch out for updates on the EONS website over the coming months.


    The Education Working Group will be meeting for the first time on 17 January in Brussels. The discussions at this meeting will be about old and new projects and decisions on how to move forward will be made. The list of the Working Group members can be found on our EONS website page.
    +  View the Education Working Group page