On European Cancer Nursing Day (ECND23) on 18 May, the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) will shine a light on cancer nurses and recognise and celebrate the positive impact they have on the quality of cancer care across Europe.
ECND focuses on a different theme each year, based on EONS’ strategic priorities. This year’s ECND23 theme is Driving innovation in Cancer Care. The campaign will have a strong emphasis on how cancer nurses are innovating in five key areas: policy, prevention, personalised care, patient Involvement, and practice education.
EONS is leading the way in helping its cancer nurse members build new skills, take new approaches and use new technology, supporting their development in research, education, clinical work, management and policy – all of which play a crucial role in the provision of high-quality patient care and sustainable healthcare systems. A special celebratory event in Edinburgh with the UK Oncology Nursing Society on 18 May will feature a range of high-profile speakers and showcase and celebrate EONS’ innovations and impact, influencing cancer policy, education, practice, and research.
So why is it necessary to draw attention to the importance, the value and the role of cancer nursing – isn’t this self-evident? Cancer nursing is a specialised field that provides high-quality care to patients with cancer and their families. A comprehensive, innovative and interdisciplinary approach is essential to manage cancer’s physical, psychological and social aspects. We know that cancer is a disease that affects millions of people across Europe and its treatment is complex, personalised, and constantly evolving. There are some key shared current challenges between the wider issues facing cancer care and the specific ones facing cancer nurses, which the table below sets out:
We need to continue to innovate to tackle these challenges in a sustainable way for safe and high quality current and future cancer care. Cancer nursing is a critical component of cancer care, and full recognition of its professional status is essential for several reasons:
- Cancer nurses are healthcare professionals who possess specialised knowledge of cancer prevention, diagnostics, treatments, symptom management, psychosocial support, survivorship, and end of life care.
- Cancer nurses have a key role in cancer care coordination and work in collaboration with other healthcare providers to ensure that patients reach the best possible cure and care outcomes.
- Cancer nursing is vital because cancer is a significant public health problem. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and its incidence is expected to rise in the coming years. Therefore, cancer nurses play a critical role in healthcare promotion, cancer prevention, screening, and early detection.
- Cancer nurses provide around the clock individualised care that is tailored to the unique needs of each patient and they are trained to provide evidence-based education and support to patients and their families, helping them to navigate the complexities of the cancer burden.
However, the centrality of cancer nursing to resolving our current issues is seldom recognised, and this is even reflected in the health media itself: “Nurses remain invisible in health news media, despite their increasing levels of education, unique roles, and expertise,” concluded an article in the Journal of nursing scholarship. ECND then, is part of the answer to the question, how do we make cancer nursing and the cancer nurse contribution more visible, valued and more widely acknowledged.
*The ECND23 Task Group invites all cancer nurses to take part in a virtual Europe-wide social media campaign to bring awareness to our campaign themes and messages. This year our hashtag is #ECND23Go4Innovation Follow us on Twitter @cancernurseEU
*More information about ECND23 at https://cancernurse.eu/ecnd23/