Understanding the practice nurse’s role in the cancer care tapestry

Charles Campion-Smith, Natalie Doyle, Richard Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The are currently 2 million people in the UK living with or
after cancer, and this number is expected to double by 2030 (Maddams et
al, 2012). However, many report unmet physical and psychological needs.

Aim: To determine the learning needs of practice nurses to take on an
enhanced role with people affected by cancer, particularly after primary
treatment, and to develop a course to meet these needs.

Method: The Macmillan Steering Group designed and developed a course for practice
nurses to identify their learning needs, enabling participating practice
nurses to work collaboratively with each other and the course facilitator.
There was strong patient involvement throughout. The course was
evaluated by self-assessment of knowledge, skills and confidence, patient
satisfaction questionnaires and in-depth, qualitative telephone interviews
with the participants and their supporting GPs.

Results: The practice nurses reported changed practice, with increased confidence in discussing
issues relating to cancer and its treatment with patients and relatives.
They understood the importance of supported self-management and were
able to signpost patients to appropriate sources of information and
support. Many of the practice nurses started initiating and undertaking
Cancer Care Reviews, both as planned appointments and opportunistically.
Over the past year, a further nine pilots have been completed throughout
the UK, demonstrating that these results are reproducible in other settings.

Conclusions: With appropriate support and training and protected time
to include cancer care into their everyday work, practice nurses can take
on an important role in the support and care of people affected by cancer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-328
Number of pages5
JournalPractice Nursing
Issue number7
Early online date01 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • cancer self management primary care cancer care review


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