Friday 1st July 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2016
A team of advanced nurse practitioners in Southampton is providing a more streamlined service for people affected by cancer.
The oncology unit at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is one of only twelve regional cancer centres in the UK, and serves a population of around 1.7 million. Services provided include medical and clinical oncology, haematology and bone marrow transplant. The trust has five cancer care wards, with two day units and a dedicated team of twelve emergency nurse practitioners within a Macmillan Acute Oncology Service.
Increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with cancer each year, many of whom require complex inpatient care. These people often require repeated admissions, but due to junior doctor rotation, there is very little continuity of care.
As a means of improving the patient experience, the trust, with support from Macmillan, invested in a cancer care training programme for advanced nurse practitioners. We are a team of four specialist nurses, from varying cancer care backgrounds, who were given the opportunity to start and develop this new and exciting service. We are all undertaking the MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice at the University of Southampton, which we will complete in the summer of 2016.
As trainee advanced nurse practitioners, we are based on the wards and day units. We work alongside the medical and nursing team, providing continuity of care five days a week, 8am–8pm. We all attend ward rounds, review patients, undertake admission clerking and facilitate more efficient discharges.
Because our team is undertaking these tasks, patients are experiencing a more timely service, without delays to treatment and discharges. We have all completed non-medical prescribing courses, which is of benefit to people with cancer and streamlines care.
Alongside the routine advanced practice tasks, we also undertake role-specific specialist procedures, which include paracentesis, bone-marrow aspirates and surgical removal of tunnelled central lines. Nurse practitioner-led pathways have been set up for elective chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There is also an established link role for metastatic spinal cord compression.
Building on the pilot
During the two-year training contract we have received very positive feedback from both patients and staff. To evaluate our effectiveness, we have looked at our contact time with patients over a set period of time and analysed the feedback from those who completed our survey. The results of all of these demonstrate the benefit of the service we provide; for both people with cancer and staff.
We are all very proud of the service that we have started and are excited about plans for the future. A business case is being developed to expand the service, including having a nurse practitioner in all areas of cancer care, seven days a week.
We feel that advanced nurse practitioners in cancer care are a valuable asset, providing the continuity of care that our patients really deserve.
Email Celia Diez de los Rios de la Serna.