ONCC Leaders Tackle Pandemic Related Challenges

Leadership transitions happen every day – in government, in our workplaces, and in our professional organizations. The same is true for the ONCC Board of Directors, even during a healthcare crisis.

We asked three ONCC Board members who are in a leadership transition about the challenges facing ONCC from the COVID pandemic. Kerstin Scheper, MSN, RN-BC, OCN®, CHPN recently joined the Board. Nick Escobedo, DNP, RN, OCN®, NE-BC has been on the Board for four years and is currently President. Diane Otte, MS, RN, OCN® recently completed two terms as a Board member and is the most recent past president. 

As a new member of the Board, Scheper is concerned about care delivery challenges facing nurses today and in the future. “Currently the world is being held hostage to what has been identified as the invisible enemy – COVID,” she said. “Nurses must understand the concepts of viral transmission and strategies to keep our patients and healthcare workers safe.  Certification can assist in ensuring we are prepared to deliver cancer care while dealing with the long-term effects of this virus and future pandemics.”

Current Board President Nick Escobedo also sees business challenges created by COVID-19. According to Escobedo, “Many organizations that have supported certification may cut back on financial resources. Additionally, many nurses have also taken a financial hit.” Escobedo says that ONCC will continue to work to help remove barriers to certification. He added, “The ONCC board had already set a direction to explore and potentially increase the options for validating competence in oncology practice. Much of the work over the next few years will focus on this.” 

Escobedo also sees opportunities for ONCC to be agile and innovative in overcoming obstacles created by the pandemic. “ONCC is adapting to how we conduct business and moving toward virtual engagement of our volunteers,” he said. “The organization is already adjusting to virtual meeting formats and exploring new options to advance ONCC’s vision, mission, and strategic priorities. We will explore new ways to engage with nurses in meaningful ways. There is such a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise to be gained,” Escobedo added.

Otte, who has volunteered with ONCC throughout her oncology nursing career, is confident that ONCC will meet the current challenges.  “I believe the ONCC Board and staff are very progressive and interested in leading the way rather than sitting back and waiting to see what others do,” she said.  “The board has been willing to challenge the status quo and try new things while maintaining high standards and adhering to credentialing industry best practices,” she added.

While the pandemic adds to the challenges Board members like Scheper, Escobedo, and Otte face as volunteer leaders, each of them sees many benefits to serving in a leadership role. Look for more about the benefits they have gained from volunteering in the next edition of Certification Insider. 


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