ONS Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course FAQs
How Will the New Course Be Offered and Why?
The ONS Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course is now offered in an online-only format for two primary reasons.
- The scope and volume of content has become increasingly difficult to cover in its current or similar format.
- Focusing on providing a sound knowledge base via a certificate program, a secure test, and robust test item bank is necessary. Delivering the test online is better.
When considering the move to an online course, ONS evaluated the validity of online education and learning. Significant evidence supports online learning as a sound educational strategy (Ally, 2008; Bradley, 2011; Sitzmann, Kraiger, Stewart, & Wisher, 2006).
Online education can offer a very interactive educational format compared to a live setting, which tends to be more passive. ONS has experienced great success with flexible, self-paced online education programs that allow individuals to set aside time to concentrate on content and reduce distractions, allowing for an ideal adult learning scenario. The flexibility of online learning can be an asset to employers as well, offering them the flexibility to schedule smaller increments of time for completion of an online chemotherapy/biotherapy course instead of scheduling staff to be out of the clinical setting for at least two continuous days for the course.
Converting the current two-day program to an online course opens up educational opportunities to additional nurses. Rural areas of the United States often have difficulty convening enough participants to warrant paying for a trainer’s travel and expenses. Nurses in some states cannot earn contact hours for the two-day course because their board of nursing only recognizes ANCC accreditation for online programs, not face-to-face programs.
Furthermore, nurses outside of the United States, especially those in developing countries with limited educational resources, can also benefit from an online offering and increased learning opportunities. Our online learning management system provides a significant opportunity to support this broad access via content translation.
Why Is the Change to a Certificate Program Needed?
The ONS chemotherapy/biotherapy course and renewal course began in 1998 to provide a standard, comprehensive, ongoing chemotherapy education. Philosophically, the programs were intended to focus on the acquisition of knowledge rather than passing or failing the course or earning a chemotherapy provider card. In actuality, the opposite has been observed. Hence, ONS has continued to evaluate and improve the program over its lifespan.
Chemotherapy and biotherapy agents have changed significantly over the past 20 years. The mechanisms of action, indications for use, side effects, and administration requirements continue to become more complex. The knowledge base for safe handling and administration is likely to continue to grow. This trend translates to including more concepts and content in the chemotherapy/biotherapy programs.
Today, many learners begin the course with more emphasis on passing the test than on learning, and this strategy is in contrast to ONS’s true intention of the course. Furthermore, users and providers have expressed significant frustration with the amount of content covered in the course over the two-day time frame. ONS has received substantial comments and feedback on the evaluations that attendees are not truly learning from the course. Planning teams comprised of ONS chemotherapy/biotherapy trainers have reconstructed the two-day course with the intention of increasing learner involvement and knowledge acquisition; although the redesign has helped, the breadth of content and measurement of knowledge is still a significant challenge in its current format.
Therefore, the move to a self-paced, online, assessment-based certificate program was an important step to take. Upon successful completion of an assessment-based certificate program, users receive a certificate indicating the attainment of knowledge. In comparison, successful completion of the current course indicates attendance at a continuing education program but doesn’t necessarily fully measure attainment of knowledge and course objectives.
For ONS's Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course, participants who have successfully completed all of the course requirements will receive within five business days a certificate indicating attainment of knowledge (from ONCC), a chemotherapy provider card (from ONS), and 15 hours of CNE (from ONS).
Here is the difference between CNE, a certificate, and certification.
Certification is the voluntary process by which a non-governmental entity grants a time-limited recognition and use of a credential to an individual after verifying that he or she has met predetermined and standardized criteria.
- Certification is the process by which individuals are assessed against predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, and competencies and granted a time-limited credential.
- The primary purpose of certification is assessment (e.g., a multiple choice examination) that is independent of a specific course of study or educational provider.
The certificate program is an assessment-based certificate program. It is a relatively short, non-degree granting program that provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring knowledge, skills, and competencies and designates that participants have passed an end-of-program assessment (test) derived from the course objectives.
- Assessment-based certificate programs typically cover a relatively narrow set of knowledge, skills, and competencies associated with fulfillment of a role, completion of a process, support of a product, provision of a service, or fulfillment of CE requirements.
- Although assessment is an integral part of the certificate program, the primary purpose is to provide instruction and training.
A CNE activity intends to build on a nurse's prior education and experience to improve practice, education, and contribute to professional development.
I Already Have a Provider Card.
Can I Be Grandfathered Into the Certificate?
No, learners cannot be grandfathered into a certificate demonstrating their knowledge in a specialty. Current cardholders eligible for renewal in 2014 and 2015 will need to complete the initial assessment-based certificate program at their next renewal to establish evidence of their baseline specialty knowledge. The new program will not be a repeat of past programs; therefore, the certificate speaks to knowledge assessed in the new program.
The new chemotherapy/biotherapy certificate online course is a non-degree granting program that provides instruction and training around a narrow set of knowledge, skills and competencies associated with completion of a process, provision of a service or fulfillment of continuing education requirements. Certificates indicate attainment of knowledge, something which cannot be provided without first establishing that level of knowledge.
Note. Current cardholders who are eligible to renew will receive a reduced rate on the course.
I'm Due to Renew in Early 2014. When Can I Register?
Registration starts December 10, 2013. In many institutions, the chemotherapy provider card has become a symbol of competence in chemotherapy administration, and ONS has received many inquiries from individuals and institutions alike on the status of current cardholders. Be aware that learners cannot be grandfathered into a certificate demonstrating their knowledge in a specialty. The new program will not be a repeat of past programs; therefore, the certificate speaks to knowledge assessed in the new program. Current cardholders eligible for renewal in 2014 and 2015 will need to complete the initial assessment-based certificate program to establish evidence of their baseline specialty knowledge. Because all learners are establishing the certificate for the first time, the 30-day “grace period” for renewing is being waived for earning the initial certificate. Current cardholders due to renew in either 2014 or 2015 can do so at a discounted rate through 12/31/15. There will be no 30-day window of renewal in place for initial participation in the certificate program. Any cardholder can begin registering for the new course anytime once registration opens on December 10, 2013.
The new chemotherapy biotherapy certificate course is a non-degree-granting program that provides instruction and training around a narrow set of knowledge, skills and competencies associated with completion of a process, provision of a service or fulfillment of continuing education requirements. Certificates indicate attainment of knowledge, something which cannot be provided without first establishing that level of knowledge
What Is the Cost?
Note. Included in the course price (for both current cardholders and non-cardholders) is an e-book—a $70 value. The course also provides 15 contact hours.
*One-time, introductory offer
Both audiences will need to initially complete the same course, meaning that current chemotherapy provider card holders eligible for renewal in 2014 and 2015 will need to complete the initial assessment-based certificate program at their next renewal to establish evidence of their baseline specialty knowledge. The new program will not be a repeat of past programs; therefore, the certificate speaks to knowledge assessed in the new program.
However, current cardholders will not have to renew until their current card expires (two years after being awarded the provider card). For example, if you received a provider card in March 2013, you will not need to renew until March 2015. But at your next renewal, you will need to complete the assessment-based certificate program to establish evidence of your baseline specialty knowledge. You will then begin a two-year renewal cycle, when a revised certificate renewal course will be offered.
For those who do not currently hold a chemotherapy provider card, ONS develops the program for RNs with a minimum of six months’ oncology experience who are interested in learning about chemotherapy and biotherapy used to treat cancer, symptom management related to the agents, and safe handling of the agents.
Can I Receive the Course Guidelines as a Textbook, not an E-Book?
The e-book is included in the course cost, but you may choose to purchase a paper-based copy of the guidelines at an additional cost. Purchasing the paper copy will not reduce the price of the course. Pricing for the paper-based guidelines has not yet been determined.
Will Institutional Pricing Be Available?
Yes, ONS will offer pricing options for institutions and employers. The institutional pricing options reflect a per-person cost.
For questions regarding bulk purchases, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do Institutions Have to Register All Attendees at Once to Get the Discount?
To qualify for the institutional pricing discounts listed in the table above, institutions and employers should consider purchasing the quantity they expect to use over a specific time period up front. For example, if you expect to have 15 individuals who will take the renewal course or 10 who will take the course in 2014, you can purchase those amounts up front to receive the respective discount levels. You do not need to enroll everyone right away to receive the discount, but you will need to order the number you need at the time of purchase.
Once you have placed your order, you’ll then receive the appropriate number of course coupons based on the price, quantity, and course(s) you purchased. The individual purchasing the coupons disseminates them through the expiration date for the appropriate individuals to redeem for their respective course once it’s available for registration. Additionally, the purchaser can disseminate coupons for those ready to take the course and earn their provider card
Note. Course coupons will carry an expiration date of 16 months from the date of purchase (or once the course is live if purchased beforehand).
How Long Will the Course Take? How Should I Schedule Staff to Participate?
The course offers 15 contact hours; therefore, it should take participants approximately 15 hours to complete the course, evaluation, and post-test. The course and test do not need to be proctered, and the test itself is not timed.
ONS recommends setting aside chunks of time to complete the course and planning to complete the course well in advance of the course end date. Learning activities include quizzes, discussion posts, and reflective activities. These integrate information learned in course lessons and ask the learner to reflect on and compare information learned to their experiences, observations, policies, and procedures.
Most work can be completed in any location. However, the learner will need access to policies and discuss some content with an organizational expert. The role of the expert is to provide insight into why practice occurs the way it does in that organization or clinic, clarify which agents are most prevalent in that organization or clinic, and describe roles of staff and resources available (e.g., patient education, symptom follow-up). Some activities ask the learner to reflect on experiences and observations; others ask the learner to compare evidence to current practice, policies, and procedures; and others will ask the learner to discuss information from the course with a clinical leader from their place of work. Experts may include nurses experienced in administering chemotherapy and biotherapy; clinical nurse specialists familiar with roles, policies, and procedures; and pharmacists, physician assistants, and physicians familiar with treatments, regimens, pretreatments, and symptom management strategies.
Each of the five activities engaging the clinical expert will likely take 5–10 minutes of conversation. Therefore, all totaled, the clinical expert may be asked to spend approximately 25–50 minutes with the learner across the entire four weeks the course runs.
Participants do not need to collaborate with each other at the same time during the day, so scheduling is less of an issue for peer-to-peer learning in the course. However, please consider scheduling some chunks of time for the course during points when participants will have access to clinical leaders and organizational references. We also discourage learners from attempting to do the entire course at one time and/or right before the course is scheduled to close.
How Often Will the Course Be Offered?
The certificate program will be offered several times each month in 2014, with posted start and end dates. When purchasing the program, you will choose the course in which you want to participate. The number of participants per month is not limited.
I Didn't Pass the Test. Can I Retest?
Each learner will have two attempts to successfully pass the test. If a student is not successful in the first two attempts, he or she will need to reregister and take the course again.
I've Successfully Completed the Course. Can I Now Give Chemo?
The Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certificate Course is intended to provide education to best prepare the nurse to administer chemotherapy. The course, however, is not a competency validation course. Each employer will have their own plan to orient the nurse to chemotherapy administration and then validate competency as part of their plan to best prepare the nurse to administer. ONS does not determine when a person is qualified or ready to administer chemotherapy or biotherapy.
What Additional Information Is Available?
All current and upcoming information, including timelines, will be available on this website. We’ll communicate new developments as applicable. If you have additional questions or requests for information, please contact email@example.com.
Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The Theory and Practice of Online Learning (2nd ed., pp. 33–60). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.
Bradley, W.E. (2011). A conceptual framework for the design and evaluation of online learning modules in professional training and academic education in business. The Business Review, Cambridge, 18(1), 20–27.
Sitzmann, T., Kraiger, K., Stewart, D., & Wisher, R. (2006). The comparative effectiveness of web-based and classroom instruction: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 59, 623–664. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2006.00049.x