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President's Theme 2021-2022

KRISTA NELSON Circle

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW was named president of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) on Friday, March 5, at the ACCC 47th Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit. Ms. Nelson will lead ACCC for the next year, as oncology professionals work to tackle critical issues in cancer care post-pandemic.   

Each year, ACCC invites its president to select a theme for their tenure that addresses a timely issue in cancer care through the creation of programs and resources. The theme of Ms. Nelson’s presidency will be “Real-World Lessons from COVID-19: Driving Oncology Care Forward.” 

This year-long President’s Theme will focus on three key lessons:  

  1. Health equity and social justice are critical drivers of quality cancer care, and practice-based solutions are needed that reduce barriers and improve health outcomes.  

  2. The escalating need for high reach, high impact psychosocial and supportive care services require innovative care delivery models that demonstrate measurable value to the oncology ecosystem.  

  3. Strengthening a culture that supports professional well-being and resilience is essential to practice sustainability, and provider and patient satisfaction.  

 

“Oncology professionals have shown remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of extraordinary challenges,” said Nelson. “Without a doubt, our community will use the lessons we’ve learned this past year to develop a blueprint for moving forward.”  

The resources and tools that will be developed in conjunction with Ms. Nelson’s President’s Theme will be posted to this webpage as they become available. 

Theme Announcement

 

Coffee Chats

During her term, Ms. Nelson will host six virtual Coffee Chats—intimate and interactive conversations to better understand how ACCC can support your needs during this pivotal time in oncology. To express interest in participating, please email us!

On-Demand Webinars

From Oncology Issues

  •  Trending Now in Cancer Care
    Alexandria Howson, PhD
    Rather than fielding its annual Trending Now in Cancer Care survey while cancer programs were experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the extended public health emergency, ACCC chose to facilitate conversations with its members to capture the lived experiences of the most pertinent issues impacting oncology practice and care delivery.
  •  Driving Oncology Forward
    Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
    This next year, as we emerge out of COVID-19’s shadow and into a landscape that has been forever altered by the worldwide pandemic, it is important that we reflect on what we witnessed this past year—not only the suffering but the “wins.”
  •  Telehealth at Its Best: Transitioning a Comprehensive Psychosocial Program to a Virtual Format
    Jennifer Bires, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, and Drucilla Brethwaite, MSW, LCSW
    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated risks for patients with cancer, all Life with Cancer programming was cancelled on Mar. 12, 2020. Staff, struggling with their own anxiety over personal safety, quickly went into action on how best to continue to meet the psychological and educational needs of patients and families.
  •  Community-Based Psychological First Aid for Oncology Professionals
    By Sam Gaster, MA; Christina Early, MSW; Amanda Reed, PhD; and Brandon Gray, MA
    Training in community-based psychological first aid is a promising intervention that promotes adaptive functioning by instilling individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support oneself and others when stressful events occur. The Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, S.D., has conducted community-based psychological first aid for its workforce since August 2017.
  •  Bridging the Gap: A Family Program for Parents with Cancer and their Children
    By Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
    In 2004 Providence Cancer Center, Portland, Ore., saw that patients with children were struggling to communicate with their families about their illness and developed the Providence Family Program, which uses a group model to deliver early and ongoing intervention and support throughout the cancer care journey.

Video Podcast

 

Mindfulness Meditations

To help members of the cancer care team better manage stress and improve their overall well-being, Ms. Nelson—and several special guests—are hosting a Mindfulness Meditation series.
Learn More

CANCER Buzz Podcasts

  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 67: Coping with Pandemic Grief
    Sep 14, 2021
    In this special podcast episode, we talk with oncology social worker and ACCC President Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, about the overwhelming grief of the pandemic and its toll on cancer care professionals.  
  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 64: A Summer of Disconnect for Cancer Professionals
    Jul 20, 2021
    In this episode, we focus on the mental and emotional toll that COVID-19 continues to have on cancer care professionals—while much of the public experiences a “summer of joy” due to rising vaccinations.
  • [VIDEO PODCAST] Ep 01: Real-World Lessons from COVID-19
    May 27, 2021

    We sat down with ACCC President Krista Nelson, on how her personal experiences during the pandemic—and those of her colleagues and patients—deeply impacted her and influenced the development of her 2021-2022 ACCC President’s Theme.

  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 28: Staff Resiliency During COVID-19
    Jul 7, 2020

    Krista Nelson, ACCC President 2021-22, shares how Providence Cancer Institute has made staff resiliency and morale a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 14: COVID-19 Self-Care
    Mar 31, 2020

    Krista Nelson, ACCC President 2021-22, shares self-care resources for cancer team members during the COVID-19 outbreak and guides us through a brief mindfulness exercise.

  • [PODCAST] Ep 02: Fostering Cancer Care Team Resiliency & Well-Being
    Jul 31, 2019
    Learn how organizations like Vidant Health and The Outer Banks Hospital are creating a healthier, more rewarding workplace by making employee wellness a strategic priority.

Oncology Social Workers Promote Self-Care in the Workplace


October 12, 2020
Krista-Nelson-300x200

When COVID-19 struck at the start of this year, the oncology social work team at Providence Cancer Institute sought to not only meet the immediate psychosocial needs of their patients, but also to address the needs of the frontline staff caring for patients. They knew that the cancer institute’s staff would be especially vulnerable during this time of heightened, prolonged anxiety.

Krista Nelson, president-elect of the Association of Community Cancer Centers and program manager of Quality & Research in Cancer Support Services & Compassion at Providence Cancer Institute, sought to identify the most pressing needs staff had before they became too overwhelmed. “The first thing I did was set up a survey and send it around to staff, so we could best determine the most effective ways we could help support them,” says Nelson.

The results of that survey and her ongoing observations of staff members at work enabled Nelson and her team of oncology social workers to craft effective ways to meet staff members’ mental health needs despite their packed schedules. Here, we talk to Nelson about the early days of treating COVID-19 at Providence Cancer Institute and the ongoing ways she is helping her colleagues stay steady in an unstable world.

ACCCBuzz: What psychosocial support does your staff offer employees at Providence Cancer Institute?

Nelson: We have expertise in providing support in uncertainty, so we know that it’s normal to be having a hard time right now. We have offered staff members our support, and we are getting self-referrals from radiation, inpatient, clinic staff, and all specialties. We offer phone support as well as in-person support to colleagues. This was set up very quickly, and it is ongoing today.

Our behaviorist at Providence started a concierge service, mostly composed of psychologists, who are available to all caregivers. We call them “Caregivers’ Care.” We provide free 30-minute visits via video or phone to help get them the support they need.

On a smaller scale, social work staff laminate self-care sheets and place them in the bathrooms. We have also posted the song lyrics to Jolene [Dolly Parton] and Living on a Prayer [Bon Jovi] to time handwashing. And we’ve laminated little mantra cards to put on the wall above our Purell dispensers. They say things like, “I am strong,” “I have what I need,” and “I’ve got this.”

ACCCBuzz: What support do you provide your social work staff?

Nelson: We have started “virtual connecting conversations.” These are Zoom meetings that we offer to units at Providence that have been particularly impacted by COVID-19. The meetings are professionally facilitated and are offered throughout the week to enable people to connect with one another.

We’ve also created kits for social work staff that include items such as handouts entitled, “How to be a compassionate caregiver” and “How to have a difficult discussion with a stressed caregiver.” The kits provide tips on how to lead a virtual meeting and how to maintain productivity during the pandemic. We may include videos, individual meditations, and ideas that you can use for staff huddles. For example, at the beginning of a virtual meeting, caregivers may choose to say something that they are grateful for or something that brings them comfort during this time. Staff may share pets or favorite blankets. I would encourage other groups to use Zoom as an opportunity for people who are no longer meeting in person to connect.

ACCCBuzz: Can you recommend some simple self-care tips that caregivers can use on a daily basis?

Leaders and providers of cancer care should acknowledge how much everything has changed. We need to allow ourselves to grieve and nurture ourselves. I’ve found that creating a daily ritual for myself, even if I’m working from home, can help. I repeat a mantra to myself at the end of each day: “May I know that I have done my best today and that I can come tomorrow renewed. May I be healthy and live with ease. And may I be filled with happiness and well-being.” I have printed that and taped it just above my computer screen, and I say it as I close my day.

It's important to acknowledge that everybody copes in different ways. We’ve been inundated with suggestions on how to cope through the internet, blogs, and webinars. It’s valuable just to take the time to pause, connect with yourself and with your team, acknowledge how you’re doing, and take your emotional temperature. Remember that both calm and stress can be as contagious as COVID-19.


Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, BCD
, is the president-elect of the Association of Community Cancer Centers. She is an oncology social worker who currently serves in clinical, research, and program management roles within Providence Health and Services. She recently joined the Cancer Support Services & Compassion team at Providence Cancer Institute. Nelson is a past president of the Board of Directors of the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) and past invited director of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS).

Resources

The Business Case for Hiring New Staff
A series of five discipline-specific business briefs. Additional briefs will be developed in 2021.

Ask Me 3® Health Literacy Tool
This explainer video demonstrates how the Ask Me 3 tool promotes patient health literacy.