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Understanding the Role of Oncology Nurses in Advancing Patient Care

group of smiling oncology nurses
group of smiling oncology nurses

Who are Oncology Nurses?

A specialized Oncology Nurse is a registered nurse whose primary focus is cancer care. This nurse has enhanced specialty knowledge and skill, and practices in broad range of settings providing cancer care to patients, families, and communities. Oncology nurses are critical partners of the healthcare team and provide support across the cancer continuum from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end of life.

The Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO) is a national organization that aims to advance cancer care nursing through advocacy, collaboration, the provision of practice resources, education, research, and leadership for the benefit of all people living in Canada. 

CANO is an international leader in providing resources to cancer care nurses in pursuing cancer care nursing excellence as well as improving access and equitable care for patients.  All Canadians deserve access to comprehensive oncology nursing care.

CANO Nursing Knowledge and Practice, Framework for Cancer Care

With over 1,000 oncology nurse members across the Country, CANO has helped create valuable practice resources to help all nurses involved in cancer care and their patients including:

  • Standards of Care and Competencies
  • Cancer Care Pocket Guide
  • Survivorship Manual
  • Learning Pathway
  • COSTaRS (Pan-Canadian Oncology Symptom Triage and Remote Support)

How Oncology Nurses are Advancing Patient Care

The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way in which many patients, families, and communities’ access, seek and receive their healthcare. For example, the shift from in-person patient visits with healthcare providers to virtual appointments has become more prevalent in managing complex health conditions since the start of the pandemic. For Oncology Nurses as leaders in symptom management, healthcare navigation, and psychosocial care this is no exception. Oncology Nurses have continued to evolve with the needs of their patients and within the complex contexts they serve them. CANO has also played a vital role supporting these innovations through research and the many oncology nurses who engage in research. For example, Dr Charlotte Lee (Toronto Metropolitan University & 2022 CANO research grant recipient) is conducting a study which aims to explore the experience of collaborating in a virtual care environment from the perspective of cancer patients and healthcare providers at ambulatory cancer care clinics. It is anticipated that this study will uncover new insights and knowledge regarding the experience of cancer patients and healthcare providers collaborating in a virtual care environment, paving a path for future quality improvement measures for virtual care. As we move into providing care to patients in innovative ways Oncology Nurses and CANO remain at the forefront of advancing patient care and are a critical component to providing safe effective and quality care for patient and families experiencing cancer.

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