Welcoming the New Oncology Nursing Society President: Jessica MacIntyre, DNP, MBA, APRN, NP-C, AOCNP®

In this live interview from the 2024 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress, Oncology Data Advisor sat down with Dr. Jessica MacIntyre, the newly appointed ONS President, to hear more about the upcoming plans and goals for the organization, as well as how she fuels her motivation as an oncology nurse and how she hopes to ignite the extraordinary in the nursing community during her term.

Oncology Data Advisor: Welcome to Oncology Data Advisor. Today, we’re here at ONS Congress in Washington, DC, and I’m joined by Dr. Jessica McIntyre, who is the incoming President of the Oncology Nursing Society. Thanks so much for coming on today, Jessica.

Jessica MacIntyre, DNP, MBA, APRN, NP-C, AOCNP®: Thank you, Keira, for having me. I appreciate it.

Oncology Data Advisor: I’m really excited to talk with you today. Would you like to start off by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about what your work and your research focus on?

Dr. MacIntyre: Definitely. My name is Jessica MacIntyre. I’ve been an Oncology Nurse for over 22 years. I primarily work at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. There, I have a little bit of a dual role. I am a practicing Nurse Practitioner. I do a lot of clinical work and see patients in our survivorship program. I also am a healthcare administrator at the cancer center, and I oversee various programs including cancer support services, our social work team, and everything that a patient needs that’s adjunct to treatment. That’s what I help with at the cancer center. As far as my role at ONS, I am part of the Board, and I’m coming in this year as the President for the Oncology Nursing Society.

Oncology Data Advisor: Amazing. What are the things that your research has focused on over the course of your career?

Dr. MacIntyre: As a practicing clinician, I’ve focused a lot on clinical trials in general—administering new and innovative drugs in clinical trials. I’ve worked in the phase 1 clinical trial area, but now my research is focused around oral adherence to chemotherapy, especially oral chemotherapy, and using digital technology to understand if it’s a good tool for patients to adhere better and have better outcomes while on oral chemotherapy.

Oncology Data Advisor: Awesome. How have you been enjoying ONS so far this week? Are there any interesting presentations you’ve seen?

Dr. MacIntyre: I’ve really been taking it all in. It’s a lot. If you’re a first-time attendee, taking tips from Congress 101, the session that they have for new attendees, is really helpful. I think the big lectures are always great to go to. The opening keynote was amazing, by Kelsey Tainsh, and then this morning I went to the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) certification breakfast where we had a very motivational speaker as well with a lot of humor.

Then we had the Mara Mogensen Flaherty lecture, and that was very touching as well, because all three speakers had a message about perspective—having a different perspective and understanding that not everybody looks and is the same. When you look at them, they may be going through something different. Taking those perspectives and getting ideas from different perspectives has been a really nice encompassing message from all three speakers—that you have to be open and have different perspectives to be able to change things and to move things forward. I think that goes with the conference theme about igniting the extraordinary. When you get those different perspectives, you get different ideas, and you really do change the lives of patients from that.

Oncology Data Advisor: Yes, absolutely. I agree that the keynote address was very inspiring. It’s been wonderful just to walk around and look at the posters here and see all the amazing research being presented. So, what are you most looking forward to about your upcoming term as ONS President?

Dr. MacIntyre: What I’m looking forward to is really connecting with members and understanding how we can help them from an organizational perspective. What are their challenges in their work. Is there anything that ONS can do to provide them with resources to support them in their role as oncology nurses? We want to understand what we can do to help retain early-career nurses. We’re involving nursing students and understanding how if they want to be able to have a professional job in oncology, what they’re most fearful of so that we can help them with those challenges and try to propel the next generation of nurses into oncology nursing, because we need them. I’m not going to be around for very long, and in the future, I need somebody who’s going to take over the reins. We need to encourage our next generation of nurses to be at the forefront, to take the reins, and to really love what they do as oncology nurses, and we need be able to help them and support them as an organization.

Oncology Data Advisor: Absolutely, that’s wonderful. What are some of the goals and plans for ONS over the next two years?

Dr. MacIntyre: We do have a strategic plan that we follow. We have certain objectives and tactics that we’ve been undertaking, and in 2026, we’ll have a new strategic plan that will be devised by our Board of Directors. That strategic plan is kind of like our North star. It’s what we look at to set our priorities so that we can focus on things that are important not just to the organization, but to our members. How can we move the organization forward? How can we move oncology nursing forward? Many of the tactics and objectives in our strategic plan really focus on that. It’s our guiding principle to be able to help support this organization more every single day with a lot of the things that are in our strategic plan.

Definitely one thing is education. We are the resource for oncology nursing, so we are helping other schools of nursing and other organizations understand how we can best provide education to you. What is the best format for us to provide that education? What is that your organization needs? Are there trends now that are happening within non-oncology that we need to also focus on, like emergency room medicine? Everyone sees an oncology patient regardless of what area you work in, not just in cancer nursing. We want to be able to support those nurses too who need resources to be able to care for those patients in the best way possible.

Oncology Data Advisor: I’m looking forward to seeing all of the changes and all the impacts that are made over these next two years. I really like the theme of ONS this year, which is “Ignite the Extraordinary.” Going into this, how do you feel your own motivation and passion as an oncology nurse, and how are you hoping to ignite the extraordinary in ONS during your term?

Dr. MacIntyre: For the first question, and I always say this to everyone that I meet, it’s my patients that really motivate me every single day. I always go back to stories that I’ve had as a new oncology nurse that helped propel me to continue being an oncology nurse. It’s about the patients, and it’s about the families. That connection that we have with them is always what motivates me. Also, it’s about what they need from us. What we can provide them motivates me to be there for them and be their support, because we’re there more than anybody else’s. I think that’s really what propels me.

What also motivates me is how advanced we’ve gotten over the years with the treatments that have come along. I was telling this story to somebody else the other day, about how I remember ondansetron being the only thing that I was able to give for nausea and vomiting for patients on chemotherapy; and many of my colleagues remember lorazepam being the only medication they were able to give. Now, we’ve come such a long way with other agents that nausea and vomiting with chemotherapy is really a thing of the past, and now patients are not as concerned about that. They’re concerned about other side effects. We’ve come a long way, not just in treatments for cancer diseases and diagnoses, but also for supportive care—for nausea, vomiting, and so many other things.

I think that’s really what motivates me—knowing that we’re still advancing, and we still have so much more to do, but we’ve come such a long way that I know one day we’ll get to a point that if a patient has a cancer diagnosis, we’ll have that treatment that’s going to cure them for that specific cancer. Hopefully, one day we’ll get there.

Oncology Data Advisor: All those advancements definitely spark that motivation for seeing where we’ll be one day. Well, thank you so much for stopping by to talk with us today. It was really wonderful to meet you, and we’re looking forward to hearing everything that you’ll accomplish as ONS President over the next couple of years. I’m looking forward to the 50th ONS Congress in Denver next year as well.

Dr. MacIntyre: Definitely, I hope to see you there. Thank you.

About Dr. MacIntyre

Jessica MacIntyre, DNP, MBA, APRN, NP-C, AOCNP®, is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and the Executive Director of Clinical Operations at the University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. She was recently appointed the 2024-2026 President of the Oncology Nursing Society. Dr. MacIntyre has been an oncology nurse for over 20 years. In her current role, she oversees Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s cancer support services, prevention and survivorship programs, the phase 1 research clinic, and the advanced practice provider program. She also serves as Director of the Oncology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program at the University of Miami, the first program of its kind in Florida.

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speakers’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor.

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