Improving a prostate cancer pathway with a nurse-led clinic
Jennifer Arnold, Prostate Cancer Nurse, Luton and Dunstable Hospital (firstname.lastname@example.org), runner-up in the Urology Nurse of the Year category of the BJN Awards 2023
Treatments for prostate cancer are evolving all the time, which means that, often, more demand is being put on the acute setting. Survival rates are now higher because of these newer treatments, which means demands on urology services to monitor these patients are stretching an already lean service.
Historically, consultants headed the team and made all judgements about patient care. However, due to the complexity of the healthcare environment today, one discipline no longer has all the knowledge and skills in an area. Today, the NHS is about interprofessional working.
Increasing demands on the NHS and its workforce mean that hospitals are seeing more patients with complex chronic conditions, including cancers (Hofler and Thomas, 2016). The lack of resources means that the workforce is often stretched. Change within health care often means looking at how to run a leaner service and be more cost-effective.
In 2019 I took up the new role of prostate cancer nurse. Part of the role was to look at how an overstretched oncology clinic with a waiting-list of 80 follow-up patients could be improved. All patients were followed up by one consultant who reviewed all cases both pre- and post-treatment. Because of a lack of funding and resources, the team comprised one full time nurse and one part-time nurse (30 hours a week), and one oncology consultant working one day a week, who was subcontracted from another hospital.
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