American Academy of Nursing Announces Oncology Recommendations in Choosing Wisely® Campaign

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Academy releases five cancer specific treatment approaches identified by ONS that are not always necessary or advisable.

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American Academy of Nursing

These [recommendations] will serve as a helpful resource for patients and their families to have meaningful conversations with their providers about the best course of treatment,” said Academy President, Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), represented on the American Academy of Nursing (Academy)’s Choosing Wisely Task Force, identified practices that may not always be necessary or in the best interests of patient health.

The Choosing Wisely® campaign is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to encourage conversations between patients and their healthcare professionals about what care is genuinely necessary. The Academy is among the first non-physician organizations to release recommendations and leads the nursing profession’s efforts in the Choosing Wisely® campaign through its task force composed of leaders of many national nursing organizations including the ONS. The ONS recommendations have been reviewed by Academy fellows, which are comprised of the nursing profession’s most accomplished leaders.

“ONS is proud to be part of this important campaign,” said ONS President, Margaret Barton-Burke, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The Choosing Wisely campaign is a practical and meaningful approach to facilitate evidence based practice and quality health care.”

"The Academy salutes ONS for bringing forward recommendations for care of people with cancer that are supported by extensive evidence. These will serve as a helpful resource for patients and their families to have meaningful conversations with their providers about the best course of treatment,” said Academy President, Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN.

The list of “Ten Things Nurses and Patients Should Question,” includes items 6-10 which are specifically relevant to cancer treatment, and will aid individuals and their families in choosing care that is supported by evidence, not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received, free from harm, and truly necessary. Recommendations 6-10 come from the ONS Putting Evidence into Practice (PEP) open access resources that provide synthesis of evidence for interventions to prevent or manage 20 patient outcomes.

The Choosing Wisely®, “Things Nurses and Patients Should Question,” identified by ONS include:

  • Don’t neglect to advise patients with cancer to get physical activity and exercise during and after treatment to manage fatigue and other symptoms.
  • Don’t use L-carnitine/acetyl-L-carnitine supplements to prevent or treat symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in patients receiving chemotherapy for treatment of cancer.
  • Don’t use mixed medication mouthwash, commonly termed “magic mouthwash,” to prevent or manage cancer treatment-induced oral mucositis.
  • Don’t administer supplemental oxygen to relieve dyspnea in patients with cancer who do not have hypoxia.
  • Don’t use aloe vera on skin to prevent or treat radiodermatitis.

The ABIM Choosing Wisely® initiative, to date, has engaged nearly 100 national and state medical specialty societies, regional health collaborative and consumer organizations, and has identified more than 300 tests and procedures that have been described as overused and inappropriate, and should be discussed with patients.

About the American Academy of Nursing
The American Academy of Nursing serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. The Academy’s more than 2,300 fellows are nursing’s most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice, and research. They have been recognized for their extraordinary contributions to nursing and health care.

About ONS
ONS is a professional association of more than 35,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. More information about ONS PEP resources can be found at Learn more at

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Elyse Petroni, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
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