"As nurses, we're expected to provide quality health care to people from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Without diversity among our ranks, it's almost impossible to do that."Debra Williams, Minority Nurse Magazine

ONS Multicultural Diversity Statement

Diversity is a word that you hear a lot about these days. Sometimes, however, the concept is not fully understood or adequately integrated. Diversity isn't just age, race, gender, and religion. It's much more than that.

Diverse means incorporating "the unique experiences and characteristics that distinguish and unify individuals and groups from one another." Thus, diversity entails not only race but also all the other traits that make people stand out as individuals. It includes personality and work style, as well as secondary influences, such as religion, socioeconomics, and education.

"When minorities living in the United States comprise well over one-third of the population, but the number of minority nurses hovers around 11%, we still have work to do. Yet, we'll never limit the scope of the word 'minority' to racial or ethnic boundaries. Wherever a nurse is statistically underrepresented—whether he is one of the approximately 6% of male nurses in a female-dominated profession; a nurse with disabilities; or a GLBT nurse—this is their forum too."— Minority Nurse Newsletter

Patients with cancer reflect the demographic change occurring in America and have increasing differences in culture, religion, socioeconomic status, race, and lifestyle. Through embracing and learning from these differences, oncology nurses become stronger care providers and leaders. ONS strives to represent the demographics of all our members-and the patients they serve-by promoting diversity within our membership, our staff, and all that we do.

We're Committed To Our Members' Needs

Inclusiveness is an important ONS core value. This value includes striving for diversity in ONS leadership positions, and encompasses diversity in projects, membership, student programs, and providing resources for nurses to meet the needs of their diverse patient populations. ONS is committed to this value, which is reflected throughout the organization and promotes initiatives geared to ensure cultural competence.

Below are just some of the areas that are representative of ONS' commitment to inclusiveness. ONS actively pursues these and other programs and initiatives mentioned throughout this site:

  • A number of ONS educational programs have dealt with issues surrounding caring for diverse populations, as well as programs designed to teach nurses the importance of reaching out to educate students and minority populations.
  • Several ONS publications address diversity issues, and have included the voice and research of international colleagues.
  • The Multicultural Competent Care Clinical Resource Area on the ONS website serves as a resource for both individuals and groups looking for information on the topic. It provides information on providing culturally competent health care.
  • ONS offers a Diversity Mentoring Program and a Student Mentoring Program. Both of these help to prepare members to become leaders in oncology nursing and in ONS.
  • The Transcultural Nursing Issues SIG, and Diversity Champions work to promote cultural competency and diversity awareness among the ONS membership.
  • ONS promotes diversity within its staff. Employees range in age, marital status, and ethnicity.
  • ONS has collaborated with the Black Nurses Association, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and the National Association of Arab American Nurses.
  • Various ONS chapters have partnered with local organizations in an effort to reach out to underserved populations and promote awareness and early detection.
  • Members of the National Student Nurses Association receive a discounted ONS membership.

Utilize the new Diversity and Cultural Competence webcast for your chapter… or institution!

Diversity / Cultural Competence / Inclusion Training for Effective Leadership is located on the Diversity and Cultural Competency page of the ONS Web site.

This comprehensive, 30 minute webcast has been developed specifically for ONS chapters, but is applicable for all ONS members within their institutions and community organizations.

Diversity consultant Philippa Strelitz discusses diversity and cultural competence transformation in an immediately applicable manner.  You will find that this critical information is a powerful way to increase the inclusiveness and effectiveness of your chapter or organization in both patient care and interpersonal communication.

You will learn:

  • The value proposition for diversity and cultural competence transformation
  • Engaging reflective practice
  • Strategies for creating a culture of inclusion within your chapters
  • Diversity & communication
    • Best practices for addressing the unintentional consequences of unconscious bias
    • Best practices for addressing inter-cultural conflict

Chapter presidents! These short webcasts are excellent resources to use during chapter board meetings or retreats.