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EONS 2021 | Improving cancer care after the COVID-19 pandemic

Johan De Munter, RN, University Hospital Ghent, Ghent, Belgium, discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer nursing and suggests strategies to improve cancer care. During the pandemic, cancer nurses and other healthcare professionals were under enormous pressure and had to continue delivering high quality cancer care whilst keeping patients and their families safe from the virus. This resulted in an increased rate of burnouts and dropouts, which added pressure onto the existing general nurse shortage. In addition, there is currently a lack of equal cancer training and education across Europe. It is essential to design innovative strategies to improve cancer care to deal with the increasing incidence of cancer. This is even more important in light of the pandemic, which directly impacted healthcare delivery, with for instance, the increased use of digital healthcare services. Johan De Munter explains that cancer nursing will play a critical role in implementing new strategies in the clinic and it is therefore crucial to invest in the current and future cancer nursing workforce by launching initiatives to reduce the amount of psychological and physical stress, increase access to higher levels of education and increase recognition of cancer nursing research. This interview took place at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2021 congress.

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