Distributing Knowledge Acquired From ICCN 2015 to More Nurses

September 29th, 2015 in Conference Features

by Loyda Braithwaite, University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States.

On July 2015 I had the opportunity to attend the International Conference on Cancer Nursing in Vancouver Canada, as a recipient of a scholarship. This year’s conference theme “Cancer Nursing Research: Global Strategies and Implications for Evidence Based Practice” was intended to disseminate the current work of cancer nurses scientists from many different countries and how their work continues to impact the profession of nursing as well as cancer patient care.

I attended the pre-conference workshop “International Collaboration in Cancer Nursing Research” where nursing interventions to improve patient care, as well as strategies to understand the complexity of international collaboration was discussed. This workshop was also helpful to identify barriers to develop and disseminate knowledge at an international level and how to overcome them. Likewise, sharing experiences about international collaboration and capacity building for oncology nurses through the world was of great professional growth.

Through the three days of conference I learned about different topics such as: understanding complex interactions between sex/gender and the promotion of health can impact cancer nursing care across cultures; nursing leadership in the development and expansion of palliative care; and the importance to integrate cultural considerations in cancer symptom management. During these four days of workshop, lectures, and interactive learning sessions, I acquired newly developed evidence-based oncology education in cancer care. In addition to the academic and scientific work, networking with other cancer nurses leaders from around the world allowed me to develop professional collaboration and plan for future partnership in cancer nursing research.

Attending this conference was so meaningful and important for my professional development that I plan to continue disseminating the newly acquired knowledge through monthly education activities at the Carbone Cancer Center, as well as strengthening and providing education through volunteering activities for cancer nurses in Latin-American countries such as Honduras and Panama. Learning from a select group of scholars and oncology nursing professionals from around the world has enhanced my perspective of the needs for oncology nursing care in the national and international community, and it is my goal to motivate and have more nurses involved and interested in advancing the oncology nursing care in their country of origin and beyond.

I believe contributing to empower nurses, strengthening professional confidence, building capacity, and providing evidence-based knowledge will open new opportunities and solidify our careers as oncology nursing professionals. Through this scholarship opportunity, oncology nursing education continues to make a great impact in the development of health professional across the world, and I was honored to be part of it.

National Cancer Prevention and Control Strategy for Zimbabwe

September 24th, 2015 in International News

by Auxilia Chideme-Munodawafa, Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Zimbabwe, Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Putting a Cancer Strategic Plan Together: A Zimbabwean Experience

Cancer is the third leading cause of death globally, with 12 million new cases and 7.6 million deaths (2007).  The figures are projected to increase to 26 million cases and 17 million deaths annually by 2030. According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2007), as long as a country develops and implements a well-managed national cancer control program, cancer incidence is bound to be lowered and the lives of cancer patients and their families improved irrespective of the challenges faced by individual countries, particularly those in the low resource category.  WHO uses four approaches in the fight against cancer: prevention, cure, care and management (2007). To achieve this, WHO has facilitated the development of strategies for cancer control across countries worldwide.

In Zimbabwe, cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality with over 5000 new diagnoses and over 1000 deaths per year per the Zimbabwe Cancer Registry 2007 annual report (2011). The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and its partners in cancer control are prioritizing cancer policy and implementation of relevant advances, with the vision that Zimbabwe will have a system for cancer control that will reduce the cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality rates and improve quality of life of people with cancer and their families by 2017.

The Process of Developing the Zimbabwe 2013-2017 Cancer Strategy            

Because cancer care is provided at all levels of care in Zimbabwe , the Ministry of Health invited all levels of health care professionals to come together in the development of the 5-year strategic plan, (2013-2017). The team included oncologists, radiologists, radiographers, surgeons, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, palliative care specialists, representatives of Traditional Healers Association,  (including Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Zimbabwe (HOSPAZ), a full member of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC)), universities offering oncology and palliative care education (the University of Zimbabwe, Africa University and the Zimbabwe Open University), and national and international nongovernmental organizations in cancer control.  Because of the consultative nature of developing the strategic plan, it took a full year to develop the plan, from 2013 under the auspices of the Principal Director of Non Communicable Disease. The plan was adopted by the government of Zimbabwe in 2014 and included the planning year to run from 2013-2017.

Programs rolling out of the Strategic Plan

Several programs and documents such as policies and curricula have been rolled out from the 5-year strategic plan. The Ministry of Health Zimbabwe also requested HOSPAZ to develop palliative care policy, and an oncology nursing education curriculum. A one-year diploma in oncology nursing was commenced in 2014 at one of the state nursing schools in Zimbabwe. This is a ground breaking program because such training program never existed before in Zimbabwe. More cancer screening and diagnostic programs are also being put in place.

The best way to fight against cancer with better outcomes in low resource countries is that health professionals should work hand-in-hand together through partnership and collaborations with the Ministry of Health .We look forward to sharing with you more about the impact of this 5-year strategic plan on cancer control in Zimbabwe in the near future.

The National Cancer Prevention and Control Strategy for Zimbabwe 2014-2018 is available online: http://www.cancerzimbabwe.org/articles/Nat%20Cancer%20Prevention%20and%20Control%20Doc_18_3_14.pdf



  1. Chokunonga, E., Borok, M.Z., Chirenje, Z.M., Nyakabau, A.M., & Rukainga, R. (2011). Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry 2007 Annual Report.
  1. World Health Organization (2007). The World Health Organization’s Fight Against Cancer: Strategies That Prevent, Cure and Care. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/cancer/publicat/WHOCancerBrochure2007.FINALweb.pdf

Palliative Care Conference Features

September 9th, 2015 in Conference Features

by Julia Downing, African Palliative Care Association, Kampala, Uganda. ISNCC Corporate and Philanthropic Development Committee Member, ISNCC Knowledge Development and Dissemination Committee Member.

I have been fortunate enough to attend several palliative care conferences over the last couple of months which has given me the opportunity to learn what is happening around the world, to make new connections and meet new friends. Most recently I attended the 7th International Cardiff Conference on Paediatric Palliative Care. The conference, held in Cardiff from the 8th-10th July focused on “Medicine and Compassion: Tool for the Task…. Or Dangerous Distraction?”.  The conference attracted a multi-disciplinary audience and it was interesting to be able to discuss this topic in relation to children’s palliative care with a wide group of professionals including sociologists, anthropologists, nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, teachers etc. Each of us came with our own cultural perspective on the topic alongside our professional perspective, thus enabling discussion, debate and arguments on pertinent topics. Whilst clearly there needs to be a mix of both medicine and compassion, at times we have seen examples of where there is medicine but no compassion, and also compassion but no medicines available – a recent article in the International Children’s Edition of ehospice highlighted this  – Cancer care is so much more than just about medicine – advocating for psychosocial care (http://www.ehospice.com/internationalchildrens/ArticleView/tabid/10670/ArticleId/15835/language/en-GB/View.aspx).

In April and May, two of the regional palliative care associations held conferences – the Asia Pacific Hospice Conference was held in Taipei on the theme of Transforming Palliative Care, and this was followed by the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) 14th World Congress in Copenhagen on the theme of Building Bridges. The themes of both of these conferences were complementary as we looked at moving palliative care forward, sharing experiences and learning from each other.

All three of these conferences addressed the issue of integration of palliative care into existing structures and talked about the recent World Health Assembly Resolution that was passed in May 2014. The resolution calls for the strengthening of palliative care as a component of integrated treatment through the life course. It is the first time in the history of the WHA that a resolution on palliative care has been discussed and is a milestone in the ongoing development of palliative care around the world. With each member state committing to develop palliative care, and having to report on this in 2016, there was much talk about how we can support the development of palliative care in different countries, what technical assistance is needed and how we can learn from each other and support integration.

For many of us, the challenge is “How do we integrate palliative care into our settings?” whether that is integrating it into a national referral hospital, a cancer centre or a home based care team. How we do it will vary according to our setting, the culture, the resources we have available – yet despite this, it is clear that we need to find ways to integrate palliative care so that it is not seen as an ‘optional extra’ but as a core component of care. Around the world there are different models of how this is being done and it is important that we take opportunities such as these meetings to share and learn from each other, so that the provision of palliative care can be scaled up and be both available and accessible to all who need it, wherever the live and however old they may be.

A Web Knowledge Exchange Portal for a Better Discharge Planning in Oncology: People’s Choice Poster Award Winner

September 1st, 2015 in Conference Features

by Isabelle Brault, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada.

Last July, I attended for the first time the International Conference on Cancer Nursing held in Vancouver, Canada. As an assistant professor in nursing administration and a researcher at the Faculty of Nursing at Université de Montréal, Canada, it was a great opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world and be aware of the latest research in cancer nursing.

On the first day, I attended the preconference workshop on international collaborations in cancer held by the lnternational Society of Nurses in Cancer Care and the Oncology Nursing Society.  One main objective of international collaborations is to learn from others. The speakers mentioned that international collaboration is great, but it is important to be very clear about why we want to collaborate and what are each party’s expectations and contributions.

On the third day of the conference, I was a poster presenter. My poster entitled ‘A web knowledge exchange portal for a better discharge planning in oncology’ attracted several people and offered me the opportunity to present the preliminary results of our research project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Health Research Foundation and the Fonds de recherche du Québec– Santé.   In this research, we develop an interdisciplinary online platform, the Knowledge Exchange Portal that brings together researchers, nurses, doctors, decision-makers and patients in this new place to share scientific and experiential knowledge and improve discharge planning in oncology.  Our research objectives are:

  1. To document the Portal’s development and implementation process
  2. Determine the Portal’s effects on the adoption and application of best practices by professionals in regard to discharge planning
  3. Identify the impact on patients’ healthcare experience

Our research strategy is based on a multiple-case study (6) and collected data from three primary sources: semi-structured interviews with participant, analysis of documents, and non-participative observations. Our Knowledge Exchange Portal has been launched in late December 2014. To date, our Portal generated more than 2800 visits per month with more than 200 members who can have access to documentation on discharge planning, to a discussion forum and, a journal club. Our research team noted some facilitators to the Portal’s use: scheduled webinars on topics of interest for Portal’s members and the active involvement of patients in Portal’s activities are popular strategies for member’s participation. Some nurses have to develop their informational skills to optimize their participation in the Portal’s activities. To increase our visibility, we have launch a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Follow us! Actually, the Portal and all the social media platforms are in French language.

A huge thank you to all conference attendees who has voted for me, for our team and this research project.

Isabelle Brault, RN, PhD, assistant professor, Faculty of Nursing, Université de Montréal, People’s Choice Poster Award Winner for Poster Session 2 and the research team: Hélène Lefebvre, Marie-Josée Levert, Odette Roy.


Isabelle Brault (left) receiving award from Annie Young (right).

Isabelle Brault (left) receiving award from Annie Young (right).

ICCN 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Save the date!