Purpose: To evaluate nurses’ perceptions of an intensive mode post-graduate cancer nursing education program targeting regional and rural registered and enrolled nurses. Design: Cross-sectional Setting: Urban non-government cancer control agency. Sample: 147 nurses, of who 95% were female, with a mean age of 45 years and a mean of 13 years experience in oncology nursing, 40% of nurses worked in highly accessible areas, and 57% in accessible to very remote areas. Method: Nurses were surveyed using self-report measures assessing recalled impact of the education program on nursing practice, effectiveness in meeting nurses educational needs and perceived need for further training in cancer care. Findings: Participants rated the cancer-nursing program as highly effective in improving their knowledge about cancer, professional networking, information about support/referral sources and knowledge of other health facilities. Other benefits described included increased confidence in cancer nursing skills and improved community referral skills. Barriers to implementing new skills were lack of interest, motivation or cooperation from work colleagues, organisational structure or procedural policies and financial or time constraints. Respondents requested further training in pain and symptom management, palliative care, psychosocial aspects of cancer, and communication skills with Brisbane-based Queensland Cancer Fund courses and seminars in their local area as a preferred delivery method. Conclusions: Results suggest that intensive mode cancer nursing education programs are a preferred and effective learning mode for regional and rural nurses.
Busy clinicians, policy makers and consumers faced with having to make important decisions about cancer health care need to be able to identify evidence that is relevant, reliable and up-to-date. The Cochrane Collaboration prepares, maintains and promotes the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. Cochrane reviews are designed to minimise bias and follow a strictly scientific format. Fourteen Cochrane Collaborative review groups are currently preparing and maintaining systematic reviews relating to cancer, covering nearly ninety per cent of cancers. Over 120 Cochrane reviews relating to cancer have been published on The Cochrane Library, now regarded as the best single source of information on the effects of healthcare. A national subscription has been negotiated by the National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS), enabling all residents of Australia with access to the Internet to have free access to The Cochrane Library. NICS Cochrane Users Awards totalling $11,000 have been established to identify examples of best use. It is important that the needs and perspectives of Australian clinicians and consumers are properly represented in the preparation of Cochrane systematic reviews. Opportunities for clinicians and consumers to become contributors to the Cochrane systematic review process are described.