Ambulatory care unit role optimization for the specialized oncology nurse

Andrea Knox


While the role of the specialized oncology nurse in treatment and symptom management is well established, the role in the outpatient setting is not as well defined. Increasing patient complexity, the rising incidence of cancer, and evolving treatment regimens is pressing BC Cancer to reassess its Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU) model of care to better meet patient needs. The purpose of this project was to identify and map the specific role and functional tasks of nurses working in the ACU to specialty competencies for the oncology nurse. A baseline functional role elements list and role-competency map were developed from clinical observations and focus group sessions. This work will help provide role clarity and enable nursing to articulate both the scope of practice and the specialty competencies required to best meet the needs of our patients in the ACU setting. The results of this project can be utilized in strategic and operational planning discussions focused on improving health services for patients and supporting the continued professional development of front-line staff. The approaches utilized may be of interest to others who wish to apply similar methods in their own cancer settings.

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