A recent national online survey identified several categories that oncology nurses in Australia identified as important, including cancer biology, leadership and research, and law and ethics.
“Given the millions of people affected by cancer, oncology nurses are continuing to be challenged because of newer complex therapies and diagnostics, including multimodality treatments, and newer emergent broader considerations such as, onco-geriatrics, genetic counselling, and survivorship issues which have a central place for oncology nursing practice,” study researchers wrote in Nurse Education in Practice.
To better understand self-perceived educational priorities among these oncology nurses, researchers conducted an online survey, inviting the 1300 members of the Cancer Nurses Society of Australia to participate.
The 15-item survey was completed by 125 nurses (9.7% response rate). Participants were primarily female and ranged in age from 18-60. Slightly more than one-third (38.4%) held a masters or doctorate degree.
Respondents were asked to identify their top 10 preferences for educational opportunities and rank their priorities based on personal value or importance. In total, 610 educational opportunities were identified and ranked.
The researchers grouped individual answers into 7 overarching categories;1) cancer biology, 2) treatments, 3) direct patient care, 4) age-specific cancer care, 5) leadership and research, and 6) law and ethics.
Study researchers commented that they were not surprised by the importance of cancer biology, which has historically been an education priority for cancer nurses. Researchers also specifically identified new treatments like immunotherapies, CAR T-cell therapy, and other novel therapies.
In addition to these overarching categories, clinical trials, including trial management and current trial information, were identified as important educational opportunities.
“As the number of people affected by cancer continue to rise, addressing the educational needs and priorities of oncology nurses has never been so important,” the researchers concluded. “This study has provided valuable insight into the self-perceived areas for continuing education among oncology nurses.”