Forum Focus: the gift of collaboration

Working in cancer services can be rewarding and challenging ~ sometimes in the same day.

I want to start this month’s column by wishing you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year holiday. I hope you get an opportunity to recharge and catch up with friends and family. Working in cancer services can be rewarding and challenging – sometimes in the same day.

Santa may not have delivered this year, but the launch of a new career and education framework
for cancer nursing is exciting. Picture: Alamy

For people affected by cancer, their families and friends, this holiday period can be a particularly poignant time. Cancer is never respectful of time or place. Reflecting on the year that has gone and making plans for the year ahead is part of life’s cycle. We all do it.

Right balance

Professionally, in the past year I have met and listened to some truly inspirational nurses and healthcare professionals in clinical settings, at conferences, through Twitter and in my daily work. Despite having worked for years in cancer services, I continue to learn every day through these encounters; sometimes adding to my knowledge, while at other times refining it.

Ensuring we have the knowledge and skills to get the right balance between the technical and the personal when caring for people affected with cancer is essential. I accept it is not always easy, but I do think adding to our knowledge and skills can help towards achieving this balance.

Transform cancer services

Which is why I’m excited about the launch of the career and education framework for cancer nursing (Munn 2016). A collaboration between the RCN cancer and breast care forum, UK Oncology Nursing Society and the Higher Education Academy, it comes at a time when the UK is seeking to transform cancer services.

It provides clarity about the cancer-specific nursing outcomes required by individual practitioners to deliver high-quality care and to support their professional development, career progression and revalidation. Investing in the cancer nursing workforce would seem a great plan for 2017.


Munn F (2016) New framework for cancer nursing launched. Cancer Nursing Practice. rcni.com/new-framework-70881 (Last accessed: 24 November 2016.)


About the author

Susanne Cruickshank is chair of the RCN cancer and breast care forum @Sue_Cruickshank

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