‘All nurses’ part of the oncology team, urges Macmillan nurse

Speaking at the inaugral CNP conference in Manchester, Phillipa Jones discusses encouraging nurses to become familiar with their oncology team.

Speaking at the inaugural CNP conference in Manchester, Phillipa Jones discusses encouraging nurses to become familiar with their oncology team

Philippa Jones speaking at the conference. Picture: Neil O'Connor

Cancer nurse specialists should work with other professionals to develop tools and guidelines to help them recognise emergency signs and ensure immediate treatment can be undertaken, a Macmillan acute oncology nurse adviser said.

Speaking at the Cancer Nursing Practice conference, Philippa Jones urged nurses to see themselves as part of the acute oncology journey: ‘It’s not just about the specialist team with acute oncology in their title. Patients’ acute journeys start at the health professional they first present to with that problem.

'One of our key challenges is providing support and education to all healthcare teams to recognise when these patients need more advanced care and how we can help them reach the right destination.’

Promote avoidance

Ms Jones encouraged nurses to promote admission avoidance and reduction in emergency department admissions by supporting 24/7 cancer helplines for health professionals and patients, developing options for rapid access and ambulatory care and leading on patient education and self-help concerning emergency contingency planning.

She cited the example of a patient whose symptoms suggested spinal cord compression and contacted the chemotherapy helpline and was later immobile after being discharged from the emergency department after a five-hour wait. Ms Jones pointed to the lack of communication between the emergency department and acute oncology: ‘Why wasn’t the patient contacted with a follow-up call? If the patient had fallen through the net, acute oncology should have found them.’

Ms Jones encouraged nurses to become familiar with their oncology team and to be aware of the best way to contact them in the event of an emergency.  

What attendees of the CNP conference had to say
 Lorna McAskie, chemotherapy nurse at Belfast City Hospital Trust

‘I found the first sessions most enjoyable. I particularly liked the advances coming in oncology. We have a lot to learn and a lot to live up to so it will be relevant to the future of nursing.

'The overriding message is just how much of a part technology is going to play in the future. I’m not very literate when it comes to technology so I’ve got to try and be much more literate.’ 

Read more on the CNP conference


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