A Position Statement on Cancer Nursing Leadership was recently published by the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC). Nurses are essential to effective global cancer control, influencing treatment, education, research, and policy issues at local, national, and international levels. Empowering cancer nurses to lead and take on key leadership roles across the cancer continuum, including palliative care and within different levels of the healthcare system is imperative to addressing the burden of cancer globally.
According to 2020 global cancer statistics, cancer is a common chronic disease with 19.3 million new cases and approximately 10 million deaths reported globally in 2020. As healthcare delivery systems change and new scientific discoveries are integrated into cancer care, the role of the cancer nurse continues to evolve. Cancer nurses work in a variety of roles and settings that were unheard of 10 years ago but are now increasingly common. These include adult and paediatrics, acute care, ambulatory care, the private sector, and home and community services, along with education, research, policy, and advocacy. They practice within a number of oncologic disciplines, including, but not limited to surgery, radiology, gynaecologic oncology, paediatric oncology, medical oncology, hematology, transplant, and cancer genetics.
Many organisations have identified the competencies required for cancer and palliative care nursing leadership, such as the African Palliative Care Association. The International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care is committed to advocating to ensure that cancer nurses can reach their leadership potential for the benefit of patients and their families, and influence local, national, and global cancer control.
The International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) Chief Executive Prof Julia Downing, who was involved in developing the ISNCC Position paper, and is an ISNCC Board member said “Nurses around the world working in cancer care for both adults and children, are in a key role to bring about change, to take leadership roles and to have a strong voice. We hope that this call for action from the ISNCC to ensure that cancer nurses can reach their leadership potential for the benefit of patients and their families will be heard and supported by nurses, governments and policy makers around the world.”
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