Community Oncology Education Programme

The Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director, in partnership with the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and local services are rolling out a community nurse education programme. The aim of this programme is to provide community based nurses with the knowledge, skills and competencies to safely provide appropriate care to patients with cancer within their scope of practice (An Bord Altranais, 2000), in partnership with hospital based colleagues. The programme was initiated in two areas, Letterkenny and Galway. The programme was piloted in Letterkenny and the first group of public health nurses received their certificates on the 14th of March 2011. The second site commenced on 30th March in Galway where 15 public health nurses started the programme. Other centres around the country are now rolling out the programme.

Community Oncology Programme

The objectives of the community nurse education programme are to:

  • Enhance the knowledge of community based nurses in cancer care
  • Provide them with the appropriate skills to safely clinically assess and manage patients living with cancer at home
  • Develop an integrated way of working between the acute and primary care sectors in relation to cancer care
  • Transfer appropriate aspects of cancer care from the hospital setting to the primary care setting
  • Evaluate the impact of the education programme and the new approach to integrated cancer care in relation to:
  1. Impact on hospital services
  2. Impact on community services
  3. Impact on the views and experiences of the patient and family

For further information, contact Mary Wynne, A/Area Director NMPD DNE, by Phone 041-6860750 or by Email:

Policies, Procedures and Resource Book for the Community Oncology Programme

Policies and procedures are an integral part of good governance and evidence based nursing care regardless of the setting where that care is delivered. A 'Policies, Procedures and Resource Book' has been developed for participants of the Community Oncology Programme to provide detailed information and practical guidance for community nurses based on best evidence. It complements the Community Oncology programme that prepares nurses for this extended role. This resource book was developed in response to the needs identified by community nurses undertaking this extension of practice in the pilot site in Donegal.

A review of international best practice and a wide consultation process with experts in the field both national and international informed the development of the resource book. As the work progressed, it became evident that an accessible user friendly practice guide was required. Existing examples of resource guides were not found following an extensive search, therefore it was necessary to develop a guide, fit for purpose and appropriate to the Irish healthcare setting. This work was undertaken, under the advice and guidance of the NCCP Strategic Nursing Group. The development process involved extensive consultation nationally and locally with nursing, medical, academic and pharmaceutical colleagues both in the acute and community setting with responsibility for this patient group.

For further information, contact Mary Wynne, A/Area Director NMPD DNE, by Phone 041- 6860750 by Email: mary.wynne1@hse. ie or