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Countdown to London 2020 – Episode 4 ‘Standardizing Chemotherapy Education: The UKONS SACT Competence Passport’

Mark Foulkes RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc (Nurse Consultant and Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse – Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust)

Welcome to my latest blog in the run up to the ICCN 2020 in London, where I am giving our international guests a flavour of the main issues in UK oncology nursing. 

“In line with many other countries, here in the UK we are experiencing increased demand for the delivery of SACT (Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapies) as the number of agents available becomes larger and more lines of therapy for patients with a cancer diagnosis are possible.”

This puts increasing demand upon our chemotherapy nurses and the skills that they need to utilise to keep patients safe. As a board member of the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) one of our proudest and most important achievements has been the development and implementation of thin e UKONS SACT Competence Passport (the Passport). This project has been led by Dr Catherine Oakley, Past President of UKONS and Chemotherapy Nurse Consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’, London and received funding support from the Capital Nurse programme. The Passport is a patient-centered assessment document that ensures SACT clinicians demonstrate knowledge and skills to safely and autonomously administer SACT and care for patients receiving SACT.

Historically there was considerable variation in the way chemotherapy nurses were trained to administer SACT and frequently nurses in the UK had to repeat local training programmes when they changed employer. Since 2017, the Passport has been implemented in SACT-provider healthcare organisations throughout the UK, supported by ‘UKONS Train-the-Trainer’ workshops.

In addition to the Passport, Dr Verna Lavender, UKONS President and Head of Guy’s Cancer Academy, published the UKONS SACT Competence Learning Outcomes Framework (the Framework) with Dr Oakley. The Framework is fully aligned to the Passport and was adopted by the National Health Service (NHS) in England in February 2019, so that on successful completion of the Passport clinicians working in the NHS can be added to the national SACT competence register. This allows SACT competent nurses to move between employers without needing to re-train. If you have registered or plan to register for ICCN 2020, and you wish to know more about teaching and assessment of SACT theory and practice in the UK, you can register to attend the UKONS Pre-Conference Program on 28 March 2020, which is free to ICCN2020 delegates.  This full-day session is entitled ‘Standardising Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy and Acute Oncology’ and will have a focus on the standardization of cancer services including sessions on the UKONS SACT Competence Passport and learning Outcomes Framework. 

If you have registered or plan to register for ICCN 2020, and you wish to know more about teaching and assessment of SACT theory and practice in the UK, you can register to attend the UKONS Pre-Conference Program on 28 March 2020, which is free to ICCN 2020 delegates.  This full-day session is entitled ‘Standardising Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy and Acute Oncology’ and will have a focus on the standardization of cancer services including sessions on the UKONS SACT Competence Passport and learning Outcomes Framework.  For more details, please visit the ICCN website. The UKONS SACT Competence Passport can be accessed here.

The UKONS SACT Competence Learning Outcomes framework accessed via the UKONS Website on the ‘SACT MIG pages’.

Do you need help attending ICCN 2020? Apply for an ISNCC Travel Grant

December 12th, 2019 in ICCN Articles, ICNN Articles

The purpose of the travel grants is to enable nurses from low and middle resource countries to attend the International Conference on Cancer Nursing (ICCN) 2020 from 29 March – 1 April 2020 in London, United Kingdom, and to participate in ISNCC meetings and activities.

The travel grants normally support travel, accommodation and registration for the conference.

Eligibility criteria for applicants:

  • Be a nurse working in cancer care
  • Be from a low or middle resource country (as defined by the World Bank)
  • Be free to travel to the country hosting the conference (London, UK).
  • Be able to acquire the necessary visa for the country hosting the conference
  • Have sufficiently fluent in English to understand the conference proceedings
  • Confirm that you are not receiving funding support to attend another ISNCC sponsored workshop associated with the conference

Requests for a travel scholarship may be made by self-nomination (application) or by nomination by a colleague.

Eligibility criteria for applicants:Nurses who have received an ISNCC travel grant within the previous four years will not be eligible to apply.

Only duly filled application forms will be considered. A letter of support from a national cancer nursing society or where one does not exist, from a national nursing society or a place of employment, is required.

Please e-mail completed application/nomination to the ISNCC Secretariat: petra@isncc.org / info@isncc.org

Deadline for receipt of applications/nominations is January 7, 2020.
Early submissions are encouraged.

Download ISNCC Travel Grants Program 2020

ISNCC Launches Fundraising Campaign for Travel Scholarships to Attend ICCN 2020

For the first time, ISNCC is launching a Crowdfunding Campaign to provide travel scholarships for a limited number of nurses from low- and middle-income countries to attend the International Conference of Cancer Nurses (ICCN 2020) on 29 March – 1 April 2020, at Imperial College in London, UK.

This crowdfunding opportunity allows anyone to make a charitable donation in support of cancer nurses who may not otherwise be able to attend this prestigious international cancer nursing conference. ICCN offers a unique educational venue to gain knowledge about cancer diseases and treatment, symptom management, survivorship, palliative care, and policy issues, to name a few. It also provides an opportunity for nurses to engage with clinical colleagues, nurse educators, researchers and leaders from around the world, often identifying valuable mentors and/or making lifelong friends.

Crowdfunding has become a successful method for raising funds for worthy causes and this is truly an important avenue of support for our global oncology nursing community and the patients we serve. Please take a moment to visit the ISNCC GoFundMe Campaign as follows and help us to exceed our goal of raising $10,000:

https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/isncc-conference-scholarships

Your contribution will have a lasting impact on the care of cancer nurses, patients, and families around the world. Please DONATE NOW and encourage others to support our campaign by sharing this link on Facebook and Twitter (please include hashtags #ISNCCScholarships and #ICCN2020 when posting the link).

Thank you in advance for your kind generosity!

Applications for scholarships will be accepted on the ISNCC website and will be reviewed competitively by the ISNCC Nominations and Awards Committee.

For further questions, please contact the following ISNCC board member:

Scarlott Mueller, MPH, RN, FAAN
Chair, Corporate & Philanthropic Development Committee
Smueller011@gmail.com

Countdown to London 2020 – Episode 3 ‘Birth of Acute Oncology”

Hello Readers,

Good to be writing the third installment of my blog in the run-up to ICCN 2020 in London between 29 March and 1 April, 2020. The UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) will be partnering with ISNCC in hosting the International Conference on Cancer Nursing.

As cancer nurses from across the world register for this great event, I thought I would give a flavor for what UK oncology nursing has been focusing on over the last few years. The area of practice I want to explore in this blog is the birth of Acute Oncology (AO) as a specialist area of practice in its own right and how AO services have developed since 2008.

“AO concentrates on the care of patients with a cancer diagnosis who are brought into hospitals via emergency services. AO services were developed as patients admitted with acute symptoms of their disease and/or side effects of cancer treatments did not always receive timely and appropriate emergency care. The duration of time that patients were in hospital was also longer than predicted if their condition had been treated more urgently.”

All hospitals under public ownership in the UK now have to provide an AO team – specialist cancer clinicians, generally a mix of doctors and specialist nurses, who review patients within 24-hours of referral and advice on their care. There are also national guidelines to advise staff working in emergency services and acute medicine about the management of patients admitted with acute symptoms of their disease and/or side effects. This has reduced treatment delays and improved patient outcomes.

In addition to the patient groups described above, the AO service also manages the care of patients who receive a new cancer diagnosis as a result of emergency admission. The overall survival in this cohort of patients is poorer than those diagnosed by referral from their general practitioner or cancer screening services. They tend to be older people, have more advanced disease and are more likely to have upper gastrointestinal or lung cancers. Any improvements AO services make to their management are likely to have a positive impact.

Led by Philippa Jones, the UK Oncology Nursing Society has developed guideline documents to support the development of AO services. The first of these was the ‘UKONS 24 hour Rapid Assessment Triage Tool’, which can be used by clinicians to assist in the assessment of patients who telephone with cancer-related issues. This allows appropriately trained nurses to advise them whether or not to attend hospital as an emergency. Another UKONS guideline is the ‘Acute Oncology Initial Management Guide’, which provides guidance on managing patients that are treated-for a cancer-related condition in emergency or AO services.

In an exciting development, I can reveal that ICCN 2020 conference delegates can register to attend the free UKONS Pre-Conference Program on 28 March 2020. This full-day session is entitled ‘Standardising Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy and Acute Oncology’ and will focus on the standardization of cancer services, illustrating how guidelines including those for AO services have been implemented. Keep an eye on the ISNCC website for more details.

The ‘AO Initial Management Guidelines’ can be viewed by clicking here.

Goodbye until next month!

Mark is a regular contributor in the lead up to the International Conference on Cancer Nursing (ICCN 2020) in London, commencing 29 March – 1 April, 2020. #ICCN2020

Mark is a nurse consultant and Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, UK. He is UKONS Board Member and is very enthusiastic about improving cancer nurse education.

Countdown to London 2020 – Episode 2 ‘Oncology Nursing in the UK’

Mark Foulkes RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc (Nurse Consultant and Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse – Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust)

Hello from the UK! It’s good to be back with my next installment!

For those of you who are a little late to the party, I will be writing a regular blog in run up to ICCN 2020, which will take place in London in March next year.

In this blog, I will try and give you a flavor of what oncology nursing is like in the UK, what the current ‘hot topics’ are and the major challenges we face in the next few years.

“Specialist cancer nursing has been established in the UK for many years. The National Health Service (NHS) has supported the development of nursing specialities alongside increased medical specialisation. The role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in cancer care has been in existence since the 1970s, but was mandated in 2000 when the NHS released ‘cancer standards’ dictating that all multi-disciplinary teams working in cancer care had to have CNS as part of the core team of clinicians.”

More recently the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, an annual survey of all hospitals caring for patients with cancer, has identified that the biggest factor in improving patient experience is accessibility to a CNS. Thus, specialist cancer nurses are generally valued and invested in within the UK. Currently the biggest challenge the UK faces is maintaining the numbers of cancer nurses in the face of lower numbers of nurses per head of population and an ageing workforce. A recent census indicated that 35% of cancer clinical nurse specialists will retire within the next 10 years.

Many UK oncology nurses have taken on extended roles, frequently in areas of practice traditionally reserved for doctors; these include prescribing (including systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT)/ chemotherapy in some cases), medical assessment, running nurse-led or protocol-based clinics and communicating difficult news to patients. Shortages of experienced oncology nurses will impact patient care, particularly in the current situation where there is also a lack of oncologists in the UK.

Cancer nurses have been influential in the UK in maintaining patient safety, particularly around the delivery of SACT and supporting patients when they become unwell as a result of treatment or extending disease. This activity has taken place by consensus of, and guidance from, the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) with the development of a telephone triage tool for assessing patients over the telephone when they report side effects or symptoms of cancer of its treatment. This tool is now used throughout the UK and internationally. The tool can be viewed here.

UKONS have also worked to develop the ‘SACT Competency Passport’, which standardises the training and assessment of oncology nurses in administering SACT. This tool is the first to be included on the national electronic record database for nurses, meaning that the nurse has a digital record of SACT competence and can move between hospitals without repeating training. The passport can be viewed here.

I hope this has given you a flavour of cancer nursing in the UK. If you want to contact me to discuss the content of this blog please feel to do so at mark.foulkes@royalberkshire.nhs.uk.

Mark is a regular contributor in the lead up to the International Conference on Cancer Nursing (ICCN 2020) in London, commencing 29 March – 1 April, 2020. #ICCN2020

Mark is a nurse consultant and Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, UK. He is UKONS Board Member and is very enthusiastic about improving cancer nurse education.