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Meeting the needs of patients and nurses

Supporting nurses in expanding their knowledge of cancer care is one of the main functions of the first ever academic chair in cancer nursing for NSW.

Professor Kate White, Associate Dean (research) of University of Sydney’s faculty of nursing and midwifery, has been appointed Professor of Cancer Nursing.

White will provide leadership in areas of cancer nursing research, education, models of service provision and have state-wide influence on how to optimise cancer nursing services.

“This is an exciting opportunity to expand the contribution of cancer nurses to quality cancer services in this state, including the extended role of nurses in both clinical and community sectors,” White says.

“Nurses are the largest professional group involved in cancer care. In NSW there are approximately 2000 cancer and palliative care nurses with high level expertise in coordinating and managing patient diagnosis, treatment and recovery in both acute care and community settings. Their specialised knowledge enables them to provide better care which ultimately improves patient outcomes.

“The cancer nursing workforce must be appropriately supported and educated to have the skills and confidence to support their patients and be involved in decision making about future trends in treatment, patient care and disease prevention.”

Acting chief cancer officer Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher says as the number of cases of cancer continues to grow it is vital that cancer services meet the needs of people in NSW.

“This new position recognises the central role of specialist cancer nurses in the delivery of quality cancer services in this state,” he says.

And White is ready to meet the challenges.

“There are terrific opportunities to improve outcomes for patients and support all nurses to expand their knowledge of cancer care. Further, we have a great opportunity to foster cancer nursing as a career of choice for new nursing graduates,” she says.

Partly funded by the Cancer Institute NSW, the new Cancer Nursing Academic Unit is a consortium of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney and the Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH).

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