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An ideal opportunity

Petra Stolz-Baskett describes how a European Oncology Nursing Society travel grant allowed her to visit a cancer treatment and research department in Australia.

Petra Stolz-Baskett describes how a European Oncology Nursing Society travel grant allowed her to visit a cancer treatment and research department in Australia.

Petra Stolz-Baskett
Petra Stolz-Baskett

I trained as a registered nurse in Switzerland, my native country, more than 25 years ago. Over the past 15 years, I have been engaged in advanced nursing practice in a clinical and education capacity.

As part of my PhD studies, I am now investigating the experiences and needs of informal caregivers of older cancer patients receiving ambulatory chemotherapy.

I began to think about how I can apply my research findings to practice. How would a translation of findings open up new research avenues? Of particular interest were advanced nursing practice service models for geronto-oncology patients and their families.

I cast my mind back to 2009 when I attended the European Cancer Congress (ECCO) in Berlin and had a moment of inspiration about how I could apply my research to practice.

At ECCO, I heard nursing professor Mei Krishnasamy from the University of Melbourne speak about a project involving ward nurses undertaking three-month secondments at the research unit of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac), with the aim of developing closer collaboration between research and practice.

Peter Mac is Australia’s only dedicated cancer hospital. It provides multidisciplinary care in a cancer treatment and research environment for 12 specialist tumour streams. It sees more than 30,000 cancer patients each year, with about 220,000 outpatient appointments each quarter.

The centre has more than 2,500 staff, of whom 520 are employed in research.

In 2012, Professor Krishnasamy, by then Peter Mac executive director of cancer nursing and allied health, led a project to evaluate the need for, and possible scope of, a geronto-oncology nurse practitioner role (Lambros and Krishnasamy 2012).

Reading about this project reignited my long-held desire to visit Peter Mac, which was made possible by a European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) research travel grant.

Networking

My objectives for the visit were to network with experienced researchers to learn about, examine and discuss diverse and novel methodological approaches in developing, implementing and evaluating new models of cancer care.

Two specific areas of interest to me were collaborative research practices, and models based on patient and informal caregiver integration.

Having the opportunity to travel overseas and observe how cultural context can influence research practices and clinical care also appealed to me.

Professor Krishnasamy developed an exciting and full programme for my one-week visit. I met more than 20 people in various roles and from a range of disciplines across the institution, including social workers, radiology nursing staff, researchers and pharmacists.

I also had an opportunity to hear different opinions and perspectives on the care of older cancer patients and their families, and to network with nurses in diverse advanced practice roles.

My visit to Peter Mac was enriching. I had stimulating conversations with a group of great people about one of my favourite practice and research subjects, and I was able to understand it from the perspectives of staff in different disciplines.

I experienced an inspiring environment nurtured by exceptional leadership, which will guide me in my future personal and professional leadership endeavours as an advanced practice nurse.

To my colleagues in advanced nursing practice, I say seize the opportunity and apply for the research travel grant made available by EONS.

Find out more

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

EONS research travel grant

About the author

Petra Stolz-Baskett is a PhD student at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College, London.

Reference

Lambros B, Krishnasamy M (2012) Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Geriatric Oncology Nurse Practitioner Proposed Model of Care. (Last accessed: February 17 2016.)

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