21 Community Nurses across HSE West and Midwest recently graduated from the HSE Community Oncology Nursing Education Programme, Galway. These nurses will now be in a position to deliver a specific range of interventions to cancer patients in the primary care setting.
Ms. Terry Hanan, NCCP Nursing Development and Project Lead for the programme outlined that this programme was developed to provide community nurses with appropriate skills to safely assess and manage cancer patients in the primary care setting, thereby reducing the number of hospital visits and admissions for specific oncology interventions. Patients are identified as suitable for community nursing oncology interventions by the Consultant Medical Oncologists, and are referred to the community nursing services through our liaison public health nursing office where one of these nurses also graduated today.
Ms Margaret Burke Director CNME said that these twenty one nurses had further enhanced their overall knowledge and skills around the various cancer treatment modalities and had gained valuable linkages with the major cancer treatment centre and the satellite centres. She acknowledged in particular Kathleen Malee, Director of Public Health Nursing in Galway, and Ms. Helen Browne who is now Director of Public Health Nursing in Mayo, for their vision and drive in the initial development of this programme. Margaret also acknowledged the commitment of Helen Martin, Assistant Director of Public Health Nursing, Galway Sheila McCrorie CNM3 and Mary McLoughlin Clinical Facilitator Galway University Hospital, Oncology staff in GUH and Portiuncula Hospital and Cathleen Osborne, Limerick University Hospital for their ongoing work and commitment to this programme.
Dr. Mary Hynes, Deputy Director of the NCCP congratulated the successful graduates of the programme. She commended them on their commitment to their patients who will benefit from the knowledge and skills they have developed during their studies.
Importance of the programme
Ms Mary Wynne, National Director of the HSE Office of Nursing Services Directorate outlined the value of this programme for oncology patients in the community. She pledged her ongoing commitment and the commitment of the ONMSD to the continued roll out of this programme across all CHO areas, with the overall aim of improving outcomes for oncology patients.
Kathleen Malee, Director of Public Health Nursing outlined the important role of community nurses in the delivery of community oncology services which has been further enhanced as a result of completing this programme. These nurses are now in a position to deliver oncology care and interventions in the primary care setting. Oncology patients can now have specific aspects of their care and disconnection of chemotherapy carried out in the community as opposed to travelling long distances to attend hospital services. These nurses will have the expertise to identify issues that arise for oncology patients in the community, and follow up as appropriate. She outlined that this development is also an example of integrated working between hospital and community services in the overall delivery of better outcomes for oncology patients. She also stated that community oncology nursing supports the principles of primary care in terms of providing fair, equitable and timely access to quality patient centred care.