Susanne Cruickshank, PhD and Vanessa Taylor, RGN, EdD, MSc, PGCE, BSc, DPSN of the University of Stirling, UK and University of York, UK respectively, talk about challenges for nurses when it comes to cancer care and the advantages of The Career and Education Framework. Dr Cruickshank explains that one of the challenges for new nurses is that cancer education is very variable on the undergraduate program for pre-registration. It is very difficult to understand the anatomy and physiology of cancer, why cancer occurs, why it spreads and why different cancers have different pathways. Additionally, although it is important to know about the new treatments, without underlying knowledge about the physiology, it is often hard to understand these treatments. She goes on to explain that one of the advantages of The Career and Education Framework is that it explains what is required at a basic level to understand cancer and how you build on that as you become more involved. Everybody who meets someone with cancer should have a basic understanding of what the treatments are, why some people might get side effects, what the disease physiology is and then they can build on that to gain more skills.
Furthermore, Dr Taylor talks about how the framework brings in other aspects of care for people affected by cancer. Their skills include communication skills, psychological and physical support, and will make nurses think about what the impact of the diagnosis is as well as the impact of treatments. This will benefit both those who want to move into specialist cancer care but also for those who have other roles but have some contact with cancer patients and need an understanding of what is happening to the patient to plan their care.
Another advantage of the framework is that because it is quite detailed, it gives an individual nurse the opportunity to think about the particular aspects in which they need to improve. It gives them an opportunity to look across the whole spectrum of care that is given to a patient and their family.
Recorded at the 2016 Annual Conference of the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS), held in Brighton, UK.