Reports from the EONS Leadership Summit 2017

Building a better future for European cancer nurses

EONS’ new Chief Operating Officer Emma Woodford reflects on her first few months with the organisation

Emma Woodford

Emma Woodford

Getting to know you

I have only been in post as EONS Chief Operating Officer since the beginning of September 2017 and marvel at how much at home the EONS secretariat team and Board have helped me feel from day one. The EONS annual meetings and Leadership Summit in Ede in November were a fantastic chance for me to meet many of our members and partners, and admire the work of our dedicated, creative, open-minded and inspiring cancer nurses – proving the conference tagline that ‘every cancer nurse is a leader’ entirely correct.

As one of the presenters at the summit rightly pointed out, cancer nurses can be leaders at every stage of their careers. No matter if an individual is at entry level or a nursing consultant, professor or minister of health – there are always opportunities to show leadership, learn new leadership skills and influence positive change. The fantastic range of strong speakers from all over Europe and the United States proved that to us time and again throughout the conference.

Ready to face new challenges

There can be no doubt that I have joined EONS at a very interesting and challenging time. Like many civil society organisations, EONS no longer enjoys the financial sustainability that it used to, and like our colleagues we are being forced to rethink and review our income generating models. In addition to this, the uncertain political climate of Brexit, as we discussed at the EONS Advisory Council in Ede, may have far-reaching implications for workforce and patient mobility and treatment options in oncology. However, I feel that we are prepared and, due to the strong leadership of our Presidents and the Board, are ready to mitigate any potentially negative impacts this may have on our overall aims and objectives. Following the successes of EONS 10 in Dublin and the Leadership Summit, a good number of sponsors have come forward with offers of support, and over the coming months we will be developing a more concrete financial sustainability model to keep EONS afloat and effective as we work towards a better future for cancer nurses across the European region.

Finally, as this is my first article for EONS, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the amazing EONS team for their dedication and commitment in these uncertain times, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with them, and all EONS’ members and partners, in the years to come.

Do get in touch

If there are any questions that you would like to discuss with me, or you or your organisation is interested in supporting EONS’ work, please do email me at I will be only too pleased to hear from you.