All nurses have a pivotal role to play in the care and management of patients with cancer in Ireland. Their role includes, assessment,education advice and support for patients from diagnosis through to survivorship and to follow up care. Nursing roles are diverse and include administration of therapies in hospital and community settings, management of patient symptoms resulting from cancer and its treatments and the delivery of supportive care.
The role of National Clinical Lead for Cancer Nursing was identified as a key recommendation (Recommendation 49) in the National Cancer Strategy published in 2017. The postholder was recuited and commenced in the role in February 2019
The National Clinical Lead for Cancer Nursing has a key strategic role in the planning, development and subsequent implementation of several key recommendations within the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026. This involves ensuring that nursing makes the fullest contribution to the delivery of the National Cancer Strategy recommendations, maximising the impact of cancer nursing to benefit service users.
The initial focus of the role has been:
- Definition and profiling of the role
- Defining resources to support role development; general and specific
- Building relationship with key stakeholders: NCCP teams, Hospital groups and hospitals, Primary care, Higher Education Institutions, HRB charities, voluntary bodies, support centres
- Lead on the nursing contribution to cancer patient information systems ensuring patients are well informed across the clinical pathway: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, survivorship through to palliative care
- Promoting and defining nursing roles in Survivorship and Psycho-Oncology services nationally, especially the ‘hub and spoke’ model which has been identified in the strategy
- Undertaking initial scoping around cancer nursing workforce planning in collaboration with the HSE and DOH the ultimate aim being to have a national comprehensive cancer nursing workforce plan
- Scoping the potential for development of integrated care models to free up capacity within the acute hospitals in line with Sláintecare
- Promoting national cancer nursing education and research opportunities
- Exploring international nursing collaborations
- Driving and leading on national standardised cancer nursing practices