The program is comprised of four major components which are completed consecutively:
- Completion of a self directed theoretical component and an online, closed book, examination (pass mark 75%)
- Two 4 hour workshop sessions attended via videoconferencing
- 3 day clinical practicum
- Continuing competency process
This component of the learning program engages the RN in learning activities which examine:
- The Pathophysiology of Cancer
- Cancer Diagnosis and Staging
- The Science of Antineoplastic Drugs
- The Science of Biological Therapies
- The Science of Checkpoint Inhibitors
- Administration of Antineoplastic Drugs and Biological Therapies
- Systemic Side Effects of Chemotherapy
- Long Term Effects/Organ Toxicities of Chemotherapy
- Managing Immune Mediated Adverse Events
- Safe Handling of Antineoplastic Drugs and Wastes
- Patient Education
- Ethics and Oncology Nursing Practice
- Supporting Patients in Cancer Survivorship
Learning activities are varied and include online learning, reading, video clips, review questions, review of on-line resources, and reflection.
The workshop is delivered in two, 4 hour videolinked interactive sessions. The activities within these sessions encourage the RN learner to apply new knowledge to simulated clinical situations. Learning activities include discussion, reflection, and group work. Case studies are used to identify the essential elements of patient care.
The three day clinical practicum is held in a chemotherapy care setting. We recommend that the clinical practicum be scheduled within one month following the completion of the workshop. An experienced chemotherapy nurse preceptor is assigned to the RN learner to support the application of knowledge within the clinical setting. Learning tools such as a Practicum Guide have been developed to support both the RN learner and the preceptor during the clinical practicum.
The clinical practicum can be coordinated in the RN learners own oncology practice setting if the following criteria are met:
- There are experienced preceptors who have completed the BC Cancer Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Education Program to mentor and support the learner
- The preceptor is supernumerary
- Patient care activities are sufficient in number and variation to enable the RN to meet the learning objectives
- The organization has established chemotherapy policies and procedures
Evaluation is ongoing throughout the practicum and is based on clearly stated objectives. At the end of the practicum, the RN learner and the preceptor develop a learning plan to identify ongoing learning needs. This plan will be reviewed with the nurse manager once the RN learner commences practice within the clinical setting.
To maintain clinical competence, Chemotherapy nurses require sufficient opportunities to apply and advance their knowledge and skills related to chemotherapy care. BC Cancer strongly recommends that nurses should administer at least 50 chemotherapy drugs each year. In addition, nurses should engage in learning activities which inform nursing practice.
BC Cancer RNs who practice within the Ambulatory Chemotherapy Care Units are required to administer a minimum of 50 chemotherapy drugs each year and record this information on the Record of Exposure to Cytotoxic Drugs form. In addition, each year BC Cancer RNs are required to provide evidence of participation in learning activities related to chemotherapy patient care to their Clinical Nurse Coordinator.