Your views

Forum Focus: how you can influence evidence-based guidance

Cancer nurses can contribute to policy development, such as the consultation on the drugs fund

Nurses working in cancer care at all levels have many opportunities to inform and influence policy. One of these is through the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN).

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The primary aim of NICE and SIGN is to improve the quality of patient care through evidence-based guidance, and it is essential that nurses help inform this process. The RCN acts as a consultee and stakeholder for all NICE work programmes of relevance to nurses and the cancer and breast care forum contributes, where it can, to different calls that come out.

As one of the busiest programmes, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. You can contact the RCN directly and represent the organisation or register through the NICE website as a stakeholder, comment on a consultation, join a committee, go to a meeting, join as a fellow or scholar or be a student champion. 

Clearer understanding

Earlier this year, the RCN, SIGN and Health Improvement Scotland produced a document to clarify expectations of involvement in the guideline process. The ultimate aim is to ensure meaningful and sustainable relationships to improve patient care.

Early in my career I took the opportunity to be involved in the development of a SIGN guideline for breast cancer. The process was rigorous but rewarding and the experience has been beneficial in many aspects of my work since.

Response to consultation

Earlier this year the RCN cancer and breast care forum responded to the consultation on proposals for a new cancer drug fund operating model.

It was so important that nurses with experience of cancer services voiced their views and contributed to this process, especially as many of their patients may access this fund in the future.

If you work clinically in cancer services you may be exactly who NICE or SIGN are looking for.


Royal College of Nursing, Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, Healthcare Improvement Scotland (2016) Nursing and SIGN Clinical Engagement Compact.

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

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