Editorial

Speak up about your practice

Over the past decade there has been increasing emphasis on patients’ needs and priorities in relation to NHS care. Many government policies have placed patients at the heart of care, and recommended that clinical services are developed to improve their experience. Tremendous progress has been made in oncology in improving patient experience and moving care closer to home. Hospital specialist palliative care services have been extended to cover seven-day working to improve pain and symptom management, and support ward staff in caring for patients with complex needs at the end of life.
Presenting at a conference

Over the past decade there has been increasing emphasis on patients needs and priorities in relation to NHS care. Many government policies have placed patients at the heart of care, and recommended that clinical services are developed to improve their experience. Tremendous progress has been made in oncology in improving patient experience and moving care closer to home. Hospital specialist palliative care services have been extended to cover seven-day working to improve pain and symptom management, and support ward staff in caring for patients with complex needs at the end of life.

However, the cynic in me looks at this differently; often there is a hidden agenda. Moving chemotherapy closer to home is often driven by capacity issues as hospitals struggle to cope with demand. Nevertheless, such service developments will result in patient benefits. Patient-centred care should remain a priority; however, we should be honest about what we can

Over the past decade there has been increasing emphasis on patients’ needs and priorities in relation to NHS care. Many government policies have placed patients at the heart of care, and recommended that clinical services are developed to improve their experience. Tremendous progress has been made in oncology in improving patient experience and moving care closer to home. Hospital specialist palliative care services have been extended to cover seven-day working to improve pain and symptom management, and support ward staff in caring for patients with complex needs at the end of life.

However, the cynic in me looks at this differently; often there is a hidden agenda. Moving chemotherapy closer to home is often driven by capacity issues as hospitals struggle to cope with demand. Nevertheless, such service developments will result in patient benefits. Patient-centred care should remain a priority; however, we should be honest about what we can and cannot do when resources and staff are stretched, otherwise this will lead to unrealistic expectations.

We need to share our successes: how our practice has improved patient experience, and how we have developed clinical services

Many developments by nurses focus on ‘survivorship’ or patients ‘living with and beyond cancer’. There are some excellent pockets of innovative practice throughout the UK that are reflected in the articles in this issue of Cancer Nursing Practice. Many of these innovations are multidisciplinary, which brings together the strengths of each profession to benefit patients, and also increases our understanding of other people’s roles in rehabilitation.

However, it is vital that more nurses speak up about their practice through conference presentations and writing for publication. We need to share our successes: how our practice has improved patient experience, and how we have developed clinical services to benefit patients. There are so many nurses who go the extra mile, yet this often goes unnoticed because it is not publicised. It is also important to evaluate nursing developments to provide evidence for oncology nursing.

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