Responding to a changing world – New Cancer Nursing Framework
Harald Titzer introduced delegates to EONS’ New Cancer Nursing Framework, due to be launched in 2018, and the process behind this important piece of work.
The background – and how we tackled the task
The expansion and development of the EONS Cancer Nursing Curriculum started in 1991. Two revisions followed – one in 1998 and one in 2013. However, the extensive developments within cancer care, the ever-expanding roles of cancer nurses and changes in the educational landscape required us to revisit the latest document and change the content as needed.
It is for this purpose that a task group, representing all four EONS working groups, was formed. At the heart of this task group was a smaller core group that was responsible for the entire workload of aggregating and feeding through the internal and external feedback rounds.
Strong leadership by Iveta Nohavova (EONS project leader) and Lena Sharp (chair of the group) ensured the core group met periodically to discuss the content, build a process map to ensure continued progress and alignment within and outside the group. The main authors, Rebecca Verity and Patricia Fox, invested many hours structuring the feedback and content into an intelligible and clear document for outside audiences. Patrick Jahn and myself acted as representatives of the core group.
Early on in the process, it became evident that a simple update would not suffice. We needed a total revision of the document. Our focus between March 2016 and November 2017 was to receive feedback and comments on the current document via several discussion rounds. Some of the changes included: 1) changing the title of the document to EONS Cancer Nursing Education Framework to better reflect its aim and purpose 2) renaming and updating the modules of the framework (as seen in the illustration below) to better reflect current knowledge from literature and international cancer nursing experts.
What and who is the framework for – and what does it contain?
The EONS Cancer Nursing Educational Framework’s purpose is to provide guidance regarding the knowledge, skills and competencies required by nurses who care for people affected by cancer (PABC) as part of multi-professional teams across Europe. The framework is particularly intended as a guide for structuring the learning content of cancer nursing programmes to those individuals and teams who are involved in the education, training and professional development of cancer nurses. It comprises eight modules which identify the fundamental knowledge and skills required for post-registration nurses working with PABC.
In addition, considering the role development of cancer nurses, educators should provide access to advanced role models, for example Advanced Practice Nurses (ANP) on site. They could have a positive impact on quality of care, turnover rates, recruitment and other important factors in health care.
Each module provides learning outcomes and their practice competencies. The learning outcomes seek to address a variety of cognitive levels to encourage more complex learning, such as evaluation, rather than just the demonstration of knowledge and comprehension. The content section of each module has a guide to all the key concepts that need to be addressed to enable the learner to achieve the learning outcomes and the practice competencies.
To identify the workload associated with each module, we structured the framework guided by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). A total of 60 ECTS credits are allocated to the learning outcomes and associated workload of a full-time academic year. For the purpose of the framework, each ECTS credit corresponds to a norm of 30 hours of total learner effort. The number of ECTS credits assigned to each module varies, ranging from 6-9 ECTS, for an overall total of 54. However, one can obtain an additional 6 ECTS via a written piece of work.
The Framework and RECaN
The development of this framework is also an important part of the RECaN project, Recognising European Cancer Nursing. One of the main reasons for this project was the promotion of cancer nursing as a specialty across Europe, based on a mutually agreed educational framework. This cancer nursing education document has proven to be very useful in many countries, with the last version becoming the most downloaded document in EONS’ history. It has been used for many influential purposes, for example to advocate for more training hours on certain topics, to promote development of the new national cancer nursing programmes and career possibilities, to support continuing education programmes and, finally, as general guidance for other educational events.
In January 2018 there will be a soft launch of the Cancer Nursing Educational Framework and on ECND, on 18 May 2018, we will launch the framework officially.
Harald Titzer is Nursing Consultant in the Department of Oncology and Hematology, Vienna General Hospital, and a member of EONS Education Working Group.