The 2003 Helene Hudson Memorial Lecture: Oncology nursing: Our past is the prologue... Can we author the future?

Barbara Love, Esther Green, Denise Bryant-Lukosius


The development of the standards of care, roles in oncology nursing, and role competencies was an opportunity for Canadian nurses to revisit their professional roots, review and validate their present roles, and revise or reaffirm their future roles. The standards of care for individuals with cancer and their families affirmed the centrality of the individual and family in any nursing interaction and gave voice to the stated needs of Canadians at risk for, or living with cancer.

For the first time in Canada, a specialty nursing organization has taken the lead to clearly define contemporary nursing roles and competencies. This new vision has captured the interest of oncology nurses. CANO, the nursing profession, other health care professionals, and health care decision-makers must now also consider how this enlightened view of oncology nursing can be operationalized.

The presenters have had the opportunity to “hear” the stories of Canadian oncology nurses and their experiences in striving for excellence in their practice. These stories highlight the evidence supporting the standards of oncology nursing. In addition, the challenges and facilitators for achieving excellence in oncology nursing practice are identified. Through these stories, the future for the development of oncology practice and operationalization of the new standards of care emerges.

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