Oncology nurses participate in a collaborative practice with the care team personnel to offer best quality management of cancer patients. The nurses are also regularly involved in promoting the nursing practice in various ways, such as research, systematic education and advanced learning (Rieger and Yarbro, 2003). An oncology nurse caters for both the patients of cancer, as well as people at risk of developing the disease. They monitor the patient’s physical state, give prescriptions and administer chemotherapy. This is one of the most challenging and at the same time rewarding fields in the nursing practice. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of health care promotion in the practice of oncology nursing. The first part will be a discussion on the role of oncology nursing, the history and future direction as well as the rewards and challenges. The second part will examine the role of health promotion in the Canadian healthcare system and the nursing’s role in health promotion. The final part will examine how health promotion can be applied in oncology nursing.
The oncology nurse operates in various settings, such as radiation therapy facilities, ambulatory care clinics and in acute care hospitals and community agencies. Their roles vary from focusing on the intensive bone marrow transplantation care to community screening, detection and prevention of cancer. They also have a role in assessment of patients, providing patient education, direct patient care, managing symptoms and supportive care. Their clients include the cancer patients, and their families (Rieger and Yarbro, 2003). In the role of direct patient care within an inpatient setting, oncology nurses are responsible for coordinating patient care and working with the inter-professional care group.
Oncology nursing was once seen as a desolate experience due to the low survival rates of the patients and their resulting suffering. In-patient home care involved mostly the traditional bedside activities like bathing and changing dressings (Haylock, 2008). Since surgical intervention was a key treatment modality, nursing care in oncology was provided only to surgical patients. It involved pain relief for these patients and comfort measures. Lack of adequate resources and unregulated learning requirements challenged the development of oncology care. Growth and popularity of the scope and the role of oncology nurses began in the late twentieth century, and nursing journals on oncology nursing emerged. This led to the introduction of care standards (Haylock, 2008). The move to introduce formal education for oncology nurses started in the mid-1980s. The Canadian Association of Nurses was established in 1984, and together with the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), they have enhanced the growth of oncology nursing. The Canadian Association of Nurses explains the role of these nurses as registered nurses with skill and knowledge on cancer care, whose major focus entails...