Young and early career cancer nurses: sustaining the future of cancer nursing
Constance Rowell, Bethany Maynard and Jane Ewang, UK Oncology Nursing Society Young and Early Career Cancer Nurse Representatives
The past two decades have seen a significant change in oncology nursing. What began as a generalised aspect of nursing, caring for the basic needs of patients with cancer, has become a highly specialised area of nursing practice. It has a defined knowledge and skill base and is supported by expert practice and research (Haylock, 2008).
Cancer care has continued to develop rapidly, not only with regard to treatments, but also with a desire to provide continuity of care for patients (Haylock, 2011). The role of oncology nurses has evolved from a fundamentally task-oriented care role to become an integral element of the cancer care team, serving as liaison between physicians and other disciplines (Haylock, 2011). The NHS Cancer Plan formalised the multidisciplinary team, with cancer nurses as key members, advocating the concept that specialist oncology medical teams should be supported by specialist oncology nurses (Department of Health, 2000). Alongside this change in role came the introduction of societies for the support of nurses and the sharing of knowledge across the world.
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