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Evaluation of educational programmes for paediatric cancer nursing in England

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Sanderson, L.; Long, T.; Hale, C.

The results of part of a larger study to evaluate educational provision for paediatric oncology and palliative care nursing in England are presented here. Mapping of cancer care provision, based upon the English National Board 240 programme, was undertaken by analysis of relevant curriculum documents. Prescribed programme outcomes were reviewed against expected course outcomes proposed by the European Oncology Nursing Society. Particular attention was also paid to expected processes of assessment of clinical practice, consideration of adolescent patients, and opportunities for shared learning. Widespread compliance with the European Oncology Nursing Society standard was found, with only two of the 19 areas substantially neglected. These related to the prevention and early detection of cancer (less relevant in paediatric cancer than for adults), and understanding the principles of cancer clinical trials (probably due to lack of explicit statement in curriculum documents rather than actual failure to address the topic). A range of prescribed assessment practices were noted, but the degree to which direct observation was involved was variable, and indirect measures appeared to predominate. There was little specific recognition of adolescence as a discrete topic to be addressed in the programmes. Shared learning tended to be introduced for logistical reasons of small class numbers rather than for any perceived intrinsic value.

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