Clinical Nurse Specialists Have Vital Role to Play in Care of Cancer Victims
NURSES are an integral part of the clinical team - caregivers who maintain the principles of care, compassion, dignity and technical competence on which the profession is based.
As the needs of patients diversify, due to a growing population, these standards are skillfully honed within the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).
Specialist nurses are highly trained professionals who provide expertise for individuals suffering with long-term conditions and diseases. They are key agents of patient care, whether providing education on how best to manage symptoms, offering holistic support or designing and implementing innovative patient care pathways.
Evidence suggests that the impact these nurses have on patient care can also result in cost benefits for health services. Examples of these efficiencies include reduced hospital admissions, reduction in referral and waiting times, decreased hospital stays and the lowering of postsurgery complication risks.
In spite of these significant benefits the CNS isn't a definitive part of the care system in local health boards (LHBs). The retention of a specialist nurse is determined by a mixture of requirement, experience and funding.
While the role of the CNS isn't guaranteed, when present, the patient benefits of this specialist care are significant. As one of the fastest-growing diseases in Wales, cancer is one such condition for which specialist nursing care should be considered a priority for all LHBs.
The number of individuals living with, and beyond, cancer in Wales is currently 140,000. Through clinical advancements and innovations we have seen the number of people surviving cancer increasing; however, the after-effects of this disease can have ongoing physical and psychological impacts.
A recent National Assembly for Wales Cross-Party Group on Nursing and Midwifery focused on the specialist nurse in the field of oncology. The group, that included Assembly Members and Royal College of Nursing representatives, heard evidence from cancer-based nurses and Macmillan Cancer Support management staff regarding the importance of the "Cancer Nurse Specialist" in Wales. …