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ONCC Board of Directors election opens February 17, 2015.

Get ready to cast your vote in the ONCC Election. Nurses who are ONCC certified as of February 1, 2015 are eligible to vote in this year’s election. Here’s how you can participate:

  • Review the candidate information below.
  • Check your email on Tuesday, February 17 for a message from the ONCC Election Coordinator for a link to your personalized online ballot. (Add “ONCC Election Coordinator <>” to your safe senders list, so your message won’t get trapped in a spam folder).
  • Click on the link to your ballot, follow the on-screen instructions, and cast your vote.

Note: One position is open for election this year. The candidates must hold either CPON® or CPHON® certification. Two candidates have been slated. Learn more about them below.

All voting will be online, but it’s as easy as 1-2-3! Make your plan to vote.

Rita Secola, PhD, RN, CPON®, FAAN
Patient Care Services Director
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)
Los Angeles, CA

Leadership Experience:

  • Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses (APHON): President, 2005-2008; Leadership Conference Workshops, Chair, 2007-Present; Products and Publications Committee Chair, 1994-1999; Education Committee, 1985-1994
  • Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium: Chair, Nursing Discipline, 2014-Present
  • Children’s Oncology Group (COG): Pharmacology Section Leader, Nursing Clinical Practice Committee, 2001-2005
  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA): Ohio Safety Collaborative CVC infection reduction workgroup, Champion Leader 2012-Present; Chemotherapy Process Project Team, Hem Onc Service Line, Co-chair, 2009-Present; CVC Committee, Co-chair, CHLA, 2004-Present; RN Professional Ladder, Chair, 2000-2005
  • UCLA Doctoral Student Nurse Association: President, 2008-2011
  • Pediatric Oncology Nursing Foundation, Chair, 1999-2001

Response to ONCC Mission Statement:
As a leader at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) for Patient Care Services and Magnet designated Hospital, my ongoing work is targeted at clinical operations, education and research to promote and advance knowledge for pediatric hematology oncology patient care providers. It is an expectation and ongoing encouragement by myself and service line managers to support CPHON® and BMTCNTM certification for all nursing staff. At CHLA, there is also a clinical pay differential for certification. We review the importance of certification with each APHON chemotherapy biotherapy course attendees, in hematology oncology orientation didactics, and in RN III/N quarterly meetings. As an institution we not only encourage certification as a gold standard of nursing excellence, we also provide reimbursement for exam costs. One of my clinical managers is also assigned to work with the CPHON® writing group in ONCC and she as well is a strong advocate for oncology certification. Additionally, I have ordered many current APHON core curriculum books to be available to the staff in order to prepare for certification exam.

Melody Watral, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC, CPON®
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Clinical Instructor
University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery
Carrboro, NC

Leadership Experience:

  • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) : Board of Directors, APHON Liaison, 2013-2014; Nominating Committee, 2006-2009; CPON Role Delineation Study Task Force, 200C
  • Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON): President, 2011-2013; President-elect, 2010-2011; Secretary, 2003-2005; National Conference Planning Committee,  2006-2007; National Local Chapter Committee, Vice-Chair, 2001-2003
  • North Carolina Chapter of APHON: Continuing Education Coordinator, 2011-2014; Treasurer, 2007-2009;  Recording/Corresponding Secretary, 2004-2006; President, 2002-2003; President-elect, 2001-2002; Recording Secretary, 2000-2002
  • Children's Oncology Group (COG): Nursing Nominating Committee, 2005-2010;  Nursing Education Workshop Planning Committee, 2005-2007, Chair 2005;  COG/APHON  Spring Conference Task Force Member, 2009
  • North Carolina Chapter of National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), Membership Chair, 2005-2011;
  • NCAPHON: CPON® Review Course Planning Committee Member/Speaker, 2008, 2010

Response to ONCC Mission Statement:

Since sitting for the first CPON® exam – and passing the exam – all those many years ago, I have remained extremely proud of my CPON® credential. I've had numerous patients and their family members ask me what CPON® stands for and they are always impressed when I explain the certification process to them. I have actively served as a certification advocate in my workplace and have encouraged and mentored colleagues towards attaining certification.

While serving on the APHON Board, I had the opportunity to serve as their ONCC Board liaison. This was an incredible opportunity and I feel well versed in the ONCC process. In serving on the ONCC Board in an elected capacity, my intention would be to continue promoting certification for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses by speaking with nurses and their managers in both my workplace and in other institutions regarding the importance and significance of ONCC certification to our professional practice. Our patients and families deserve high quality care—ONCC certification is a reflection of our personal dedication to this level of specialized care.