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Forum Focus: a framework for all

The Career and Education Framework for Cancer Nursing is finally available to download and I am proud to have played a small part in its evolution.

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As you will see from the list of acknowledgements, many talented nurses from across the UK were involved and steered by Vanessa Taylor from the University of York. What is particularly heartening is the framework speaks to everyone affected by cancer: health and social care support workers, pre-registration students, generalist and specialist nurses. 

Keeping up

Cancer can seem complex to nurses who do not deal with the diagnosis and treatment stages every day. Even nurse specialists are grappling to keep up with the implications of the multiple new biological agents that are emerging. Despite the frequency of cancer, many procedures and treatments are undertaken by specialists in specialist areas.

While this has played a significant role in the improved survival outcomes among those affected by the disease, it has left some nurses unsure of how best to approach conversations about diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.


The benefits of this framework are that for the first time, there is clarity about what the knowledge, skills and competencies should be of all nurses who care for people affected by cancer. If every nurse, irrespective of setting, took time to map their knowledge and skills against the framework, we could have an even greater effect than we already do on the lives of those affected by cancer.

If, like me, you have colleagues who work in different fields of practice and in other specialties, tell them about the framework.

It is important that we do not allow wrong information about cancer to continue to be circulated and gain credence when simple education interventions can help.


UK Oncology Nursing Society and Royal College of Nursing (2017) Career and Education Framework for Cancer Nursing.

About the author

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

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