VCMRF Ventura County Medical Resource Foundation

vcmrf ventura county medical resource foundation

Nursing Oncology Wellness Program (NOW) aims to care-give for the Caregivers of Terminally ill Patients by increasing retention, enhancing educational enrichment, decreasing burnout and compassion fatigue and fostering wellness in Oncology Nurses.


There is a worldwide shortage of Oncology nurses.  The annualized turnover rate for Oncology nurses in 2010 was close to 12% and the annualized vacancy rate was more than 29% (CDC, Atlanta, Georgia).  This reflects the impending nursing shortage looming on the horizon.  Oncology nurse retention is paramount to ensure that care of the patient is not jeopardized.  As the pace of nursing care accelerates with 25% more baby boomers headed into specialized Oncology Care in Ventura County, the importance of attracting and retaining specialized skilled nurses (i.e., chemotherapy certified, etc.) in this field is expanding dramatically. 


Multiple environmental stressors, such as expanding workload, and long hours, coupled with the need to respond to complex patient needs, including pain, traumatic injury, and emotional distress, results in nurses feeling tired, depressed, angry, ineffective, apathetic, and detached.


The Oncology Nursing Program goal is 100% retention rate.  This can be measured by lower turnover rate, decreased stress in caregivers, improved health for nurses, and potential links to better overall Survivorship Statistics for patients and also, a mentoring program for new Oncology nurses to help them learn about high-acuity patient care – offering support in an unobtrusive way to encourage Oncology nurses to self-care is vital. and important ways which will allow them to protect themselves from the injury of loss while still providing the highest standards of competent compassionate care. 


This program provides a 3-day respite retreat at the Lavender Inn, in Ojai, California for Oncology nurses to be away from home and work responsibilities, to experience an exclusive bonding with other Oncology nurses for a journey of self-reflection, education, empowerment and enrichment.


The program activities will enhance the ability of Oncology nurses to support each other.  The results will create a more supportive work environment, enhance solution-focused problem solving, enhance bonding and team building so that Oncology nurses are more motivated to continue in their profession and feel more supported by each other.  The nurses will be valued and appreciated as a cherished resource in health care hospitals and clinics to improve retention.


The program will design strategies to improve specific work environments, providing an environment where Oncology nurses can bond, provide educational enrichment, discuss emerging technologies, and their effects on Oncology Nurses, providing grounding containment skills and boundary setting for self-protection and encouraging nurses to help each other in recognizing the need for these. This is a holistic/spiritual care program – a place to stimulate discussion of critical issues relevant to Oncology nurses, such as flexible abbreviated shifts, multi-disciplinary collaboration with physicians and enhanced mentoring programs.