Career Guidance: Lead

From the bedside to the boardroom, every nurse is a leader. Whether staff nurses, APNs and managers, or those serving administrative roles, nurses must be strong leaders at every level of our profession—not only to nurture and care for those in need but also to serve as advocates, change agents, and exemplary clinical leaders. ONS has the resources and tools you need to grow your skills as a leader.


Take a leadership development course. Serving on a board of directors is an effective way to engage and implement the change that you’d like to see in your practice. Learn how to use your experience to shape the future for oncology nurses and patient care with the online course, Board Leadership: Nurses in Governance.

Enroll in a professional practice course. ONS offers two professional practice courses: Professional Practice—Oncology RN and Professional Practice—Oncology NP. They are available on demand and each gives a comprehensive overview of nursing standards, ethics, advocacy, evidence-based practice, and much more.

Click here to see all the NCPD courses and activities.


Apply for the emerging leader award. ONS encourages members who are advancing the oncology nursing profession and quality of cancer care at the local/regional level to apply for this award.

Search our publications. ONS publishes many titles that address the needs of nurse leaders and educators. Here are three examples:

  • Nursing Management Principles and Practice: This updated book includes chapters on leadership development, management theory, organizational design, human resource management, and financial management, plus it includes a CD-ROM containing PowerPoint slides for each chapter.
  • Standards of Oncology Nursing Education: Generalist and Advanced Practice Levels (Fourth Edition):  This book designed as a reference for oncology nurses, educators in clinical settings, and faculty members in schools of nursing. Educators can use these standards to plan, update, and evaluate educational offerings in higher education, continuing education, and in their own individual learning. 

Click here to search all of ONS publications.


Maintain your certification. ONS provides the NCPD resources to manage your ILNA work plan and maintain your certification through ONCC.

Click here to see all NCPD courses and activities.


Become a mentor. As a leader, you can be a great resource and role model for other nurses. Share your experiences and insights as a mentor, and give back.

Volunteer for ONS. Give some of your valuable time to helping improve cancer care on the local, national or international level.  

Help lead your local chapter. Develop your leadership skills by taking a leadership role in your local chapter and help plan chapter activities.

Join the Nurses on Boards Coalition. Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN and chief executive officer of ONS explains how your involvement on a corporate, nonprofit, or governance board can make a positive impact on our healthcare environment.

Get active in our communities. Sharing best practices, answer questions and connect with other members by participating in the ONS communities.

Click here to see all volunteer opportunities.