What can nurses do to meet the challenges of COVID-19?

January 26th, 2022 in Hot Topics, International News, Reflection

Author: Dion Smyth, Senior Lecturer (Cancer and Palliative care), Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK

The global Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly disturbed and continues to disrupt, cancer care and management. Despite professionals and cancer services responding rapidly to the challenges posed by the pandemic with a range of changes to their service delivery, we know that delayed or decreased access to screening, early diagnosis, and treatment has been a typical finding across the globe.

For example, research into the impact of Covid-19 has recounted that breast cancer screening declined in communities of color and populations of income deprivation in the US (Feweda et al, 2021); whilst, in the UK, Cancer Research UK estimates 3 million fewer people were screened, compared to pre-pandemic levels of activity (CRUK, 2021). Englum et al (2021) found that there was a significant reduction in the number of cancer diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopies or prostate biopsies undertaken. Waiting lists and times for treatment of cancer are at record levels in the UK (NHS England, 2021), all of which clearly impact the mental health and well-being of patients waiting and worried about their diagnosis and, potentially, treatment outcomes.

So, what can nurses do?

Obviously, the various government and population and individual responses vary, and so practitioners will work within the political and practical frameworks of their nation-states; however, there is still much that can be done. For example, we might lobby for more resources, whether that is local or a broader societal issue.

Nurses can advise, inform or advocate for the vaccination program so that the impact of incidence in a population can be mitigated, just as the vaccination against oncogenic viruses, such as HPV is known to lessen the burden of cervical cancer.

We might also look at how we can share our experiences, examples of good practice, and practice development so that our colleagues across the globe can gain insights into new ways of working. To that end, writing a blog piece for the ISNCC site is a good and commendable place to start.


CRUK (2021) Our research into the impact of COVID-19 on cancer Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/our-research-into-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-cancer

NHS England (2021) Caner Waiting Times available at:  https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.england.nhs.uk%2Fstatistics%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F2%2F2021%2F12%2FCancer-Waiting-Times-National-Time-Series-Oct-2009-Oct-2021-with-Revisions.xlsx&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK

Englum, BR et al (2021) Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diagnosis of new cancers: A national multicenter study of the Veterans Affairs Healthcare SystemCancer https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.34011

Fedewa, SA et al (2021) Changes in breast cancer screening rates among 32 community health centers during the COVID-19 pandemicCancer 127(23): 4512-4515 https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.33859

Experiences at the Asian Oncology Nursing Society (AONS) Conference 2021

December 7th, 2021 in International News, Reflection

Author: Ariesta Milanti, BSN, RN, MHC, The Nethersole School of Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; ISNCC Policy and Advocacy Committee member

It was a great pleasure to attend the 5th AONS Conference on the 18th-19th November 2021 among more than 500 delegates from 17 countries. This conference was held on a virtual platform in respect of the pandemic control. It was held by the Taiwan Oncology Nursing Society (TONS) of China.

In the opening ceremony, it was an honour to see Dr Ching-Te Lai giving the welcome address. All the welcome remarks gave the tone of the conference’s theme: “Innovations of Science and Art in Oncology Nursing”. After the opening remarks, there was a keynote speech by Professor Chien-Jen Chen, addressing the achievements and challenges of the national cancer prevention programmes in Taiwan of China. Another keynote speech was delivered by Professor Patsy Yates from Australia. She underlined that the era of precision cancer care brings the implications for nurses to understand more about the influences of patient experience, to deliver tailored intervention, and to support self-management of the patients. Meanwhile, the second day keynote speaker, Professor Winnie So, emphasised that the cancer health disparities which may occur in the disadvantaged populations should be addressed by using innovations to promote their access to cancer care.

The invited speakers and their speeches are inspirational. They are prominent leaders and scholars who have made a huge number of significant contributions in cancer nursing. Their presentations brought important lessons about the trends and current situation of innovation in cancer science and how cancer nurses can be the innovators to improve nursing practice.

In the oral presentation sessions, I was able to learn from a wide range of research topics from psychosocial care and survivorship to the hospice palliative care. This learning opportunity has widened my horizon and increase my knowledge about what is happening in cancer nursing studies, especially in Asia. In the poster presentation sessions, hundreds of recorded posters were played in marathon. Some of the presenters used text-to-speech application to present, which echoed the technology innovation to address the language barrier. In these sessions, I was also struck by a great number of cancer nurses who have made a difference in their clinical or educational settings to improve quality of care.

Lastly, I was very grateful to receive the scholarship award from AONS and to have an opportunity to present my study in a special award session. This session also invited the winners of excellence awards – cancer nurses with major contribution in research and practice. It was a great honour to be in one stage with the stellar nurses from different countries in Asia. Overall, this AONS conference 2021 was a rewarding and enlightening learning experience to increase my knowledge in cancer nursing.

Patsy Yates presenting to AONS conference 2021
Presentation of Patsy Yates – President, International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC)
Virtual award presentation at AONS 2021 conference
Special award presentation session (clockwise direction: Eunyoung Suh, AONS president; Winnie So, AONS past president, ISNCC president-elect; Sarita Chhetri (India); In Gak Kwon (South Korea); Eun Young Park (South Korea).

Palliative Care Promotion: Embrace the Development of Healthy Aging

November 30th, 2021 in International News

Author: Yongyi Chen, Renli Deng, Yang Liu

Institutions: Hunan Cancer Hospital, Palliative Care Committee of Chinese Nursing Association; Nursing School of ZunYi Medical University; Auckland University of Technology Pacific Health Research Centre

The online education session entitled “Embracing ageing in the Western Pacific: Fostering connections of older Pacific adults and promoting Advance Care Planning for older Chinese People” was held by WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health Services (WHOCC), School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on November 19th 2021. There were 63 delegates and experts participated in this webinar from Western Pacific countries.

Associate Professor EI-Shadan Tautolo reported a project on how Pacific older people from New Zealand participated in health care and its impact on healthy ageing. The project was conducive to the establishment of partnerships among community stakeholder institutions and co-researchers, as well as how the community could effectively intervene in the health of the elderly.

The presentation of professor Deng mainly focused on the promotion and significance of the advance care planning in China. She emphasized the independent decision-making rights of patients and the importance of family members in decision-making. The realization of ACP requires us to make joint efforts to establish a correct concept of life and death through education and specialist training, vigorously improve public participation and its legalization process to standardize its application in clinical practice.

Professor Yongyi Chen, the Director of the Palliative Care Committee of CNA, was invited by the WHOCC as the Discussant of this webinar. Professor Chen finally reiterated the concept of palliative care and the importance of human health. She pointed out that palliative care was our common mission and the better quality of life was our common goal. She emphasized the necessity of Pacific community elderly as partners in healthy aging and the great significance to promote advance care planning in China. As the discussant, Professor Yongyi held the discussion on topics with respect to the challenges of palliative care for communities in the context of COVID-19, as well as facilitating and hindering factors for advance care planning in China.

International Conference on Cancer Nursing 2022 – SAVE THE DATE

The ISNCC is excited to announce the International Conference on Cancer Nursing 2022 (ICCN2022) to be held virtually from February 23rd through February 25th, 2022. The conference will include plenaries, instructional sessions, at least one educational workshop, and industry-supported educational sessions. A virtual library of oral and poster abstracts will also be included.

Theme and Objectives

The conference theme is “Building Sustainability & Resilience: Global Perspectives on Cancer Nursing,” with the following objectives:

  1. Define the evolving challenges facing oncology nurses as they provide care across diverse cultures
  2. Examine the emerging evidence demonstrating the impact of cancer nursing on equitable cancer control worldwide
  3. Describe innovative approaches to nursing education, practice, research, and policy
  4. Evaluate the current status, barriers and solutions of the health sector’s impact on the environment
  5. Identify the influence oncology nursing practices have on the global burden of cancer

ICCN2022 Website

The ICCN2022 website, ICCN2022.com, is currently under development and will be available in early to mid-October. An announcement will be sent once it is available.

Abstract/Instructional Sessions

The abstract submission process will begin in mid-October and remain open for approximately 6 weeks, ending in early December. Oral and poster abstract submissions will be accepted for the virtual library and instructional session abstracts for the virtual conference.

Abstract Categories

  • Administration/Management/Leadership
  • Advanced Practice
  • Education
  • General Practice
  • Health Policy & Advocacy
  • Research

Abstract Topics

  • Cancer across the Lifespan
  • Cancer Continuum
  • Disparities/Equity/Culture
  • Environmental Issues
  • Family & Caregivers
  • Health Care Crises
  • Health Systems/Models of Care/Workforce
  • Innovations in Practice, Education & Technology
  • Palliative Care
  • Professional Issues
  • Psychosocial/QOL
  • Research Issues/ Methods
  • Survivorship
  • Symptom Management

Watch our website for more details as we launch the ICCN2022.org website and announce the call for abstract submissions!

We look forward to welcoming you to ICCN2022!!

Promotion, Integration, and Innovation to Promote Development of Palliative Care

September 16th, 2021 in International News

Author: Yongyi Chen, Xiangyu Liu, Haixia Xiao, Yang Liu
Institutions: Hunan Cancer Hospital, Palliative Care Committee of Chinese Nursing Association

In order to promote the integration of multidisciplinary cooperation and enhance the innovation of palliative care, National Conference of Palliative Care of China was held on August 27th to August 31st, 2021 online. More than 1,800 delegates and experts from all over the country participated in the conference.

Dr. Patsy Yates, the president of International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC) delivered a keynote address titled “The Progress of Global Palliative Care Development”. She emphasized that with the need of palliative care been growing, the demand being increasing, we were facing complex and challenging task to develop palliative care. As a basic human right, palliative care had become a matter of urgency. She introduced clinical guideline recommendations relating to early referral to palliative care and patient centred communication and shared decision making. She also highlighted the critical role of nurses in palliative care that nursing leadership in palliative care is very essential to high quality care.

Dr. Patsy Yates, President, International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC)

Dr. Xinjuan Wu, the chairman of Chinese Nursing Association, congratulated the convening of this conference. She emphasized that Chinese Nursing Association as well as the Palliative Care Committee would continue to work together to promote the academic development of palliative care, which aiming to improve the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual status of terminally ill patients. Her presentation highly inspired the nurses which were expertise at palliative care.

Dr. Xinjuan Wu, Chairman of Chinese Nursing Association

Dr. Yongyi Chen, chairman of the Palliative Care Committee of Chinese Nursing Association, expressed her sincere gratitude to the tremendous support of Chinese Nursing Association, and warmly welcomed all attendants of this conference. She summarized four words to highlight the characteristics of this conference. Firstly, “high”: both policy advocacy and standards interpretation was involved which reflected high standard. Secondly, “diversity”, the exhibition of palliative care training base and the demonstration of excellent cases were of good diversity. Thirdly, “practicability”: not only clinical difficulties, but also the introduction of practical experience was practicability. Fourth, “cutting-edge”, the content was in line with international standards and adapted to Chinese characteristics.

Dr. Yongyi Chen, Chairman of the Palliative Care Committee, Chinese Nursing Association

Nine sections were set in this conference: the development of nursing and palliative care, the humanistic communication of palliative care, the quality improvement of palliative care, the scientific research of palliative care, the training base construction and experience exchange of palliative care, the symptom management of palliative care, the clinical nursing skills of palliative care, the case show of “love in palliative care”, and the video show of cancer pain management in the night of blue ribbon. This high-standard academic feast was a strong engine to launch the professional talents cultivation of palliative care.