Objectives: To review the role of professional organizations in advocacy using the ONS as a paradigm.
Data sources: Professional journals, organization publications, personal experiences, and internet websites.
Conclusions: Professional organizations are a crucial component of the legislative process as they seek to develop and implement sound public policy. The ONS and other organizations have realized that the work each group does individually is often more effective when the groups collaborate with others possessing the same agendas and priorities.
Implications for nursing practice: As the professional organization for nurses in cancer care, ONS has an active engagement in the establishment of health policy that will have an impact on nursing and cancer care. To be successful in the public policy arena, ONS must not only be aware of current issues at both the state and national levels but also must teach its members how to advocate effectively for issues that affect cancer care.