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Supporting professional development

Education project provides a way forward for the development of the cancer nursing workforce in Australia.

John is a 62-year-old male diagnosed with colorectal cancer, while Jane, 36, has ovarian cancer. From this month nurses will be able to follow the journey of John and Jane, who along with nine other cancer patients feature in case studies for EdCaN’s education resources.
The National Cancer Nursing Education (EdCaN) project provides a way forward for the development of the cancer nursing workforce in Australia through a framework and a set of capabilities outlining the role expectations of nurses working in cancer control.
To be launched at the CNSA’s 12th Winter Congress, – June 18 - 20 – the web-based education resources will help nurses acquire these capabilities. The ultimate aim is to improve health outcomes for people affected by cancer.

The project has been conducted over four years from 2005 to 2009 and is auspiced by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in association with other Australian cancer care institutions, universities and professional associations.

EdCaN is funded by Cancer Australia as part of their Strengthening Cancer Care initiative for 2005 to 2009.

“People affected by cancer expect to receive care from competent health professionals at every stage of their cancer journey,” project manager Cathie Pigott says.

“All nurses, not just specialist cancer care nurses, need to have knowledge of cancer control. Cancer is becoming a chronic disease, and with people living longer as a result of improved treatments and a higher incidence, at some stage all nurses will come into contact with cancer.”

The resources are designed to support the professional development of all nurses in cancer care regardless of experience or setting, Pigott says. They provide highly flexible and accessible education materials to help all nurses achieve the core capabilities required in cancer control, specialist cancer nurses to benchmark against the specialist cancer nurse competency standards and educators to facilitate learning for all nurses in cancer control.

“A project of this kind has never been undertaken. Making sure freely accessible, and quality, information is available to all nurses is critical in meeting the needs of cancer patients,” Pigott says.

The 11 case studies focus on patients with 11 different cancers. Each was developed by a nurse and then reviewed by a patient, a nurse and a doctor.

“The case studies will allow nurses to follow the journey of the patient. As a learning tool they will be very effective,” Pigott says.

Project Objectives:
• To develop a national framework for the cancer nursing workforce that will establish role definitions and role scope, set educational preparation standards and consider strategies to implement the framework.
• To support the development of the skills of the cancer nursing workforce including developing curriculum documents for all levels and resource materials to support the development of core competencies.
• To disseminate the framework through the development of online resources and test these with a pilot project undertaken in a range of settings, including rural and remote areas.
• To address the sustainability issues associated with long-term workforce preparation and development in cancer nursing.
• To consider the feasibility of adaptation of resources by undergraduate allied health
and indigenous health providers.

Go to www.edcan.org

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