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Systemic Therapy Education Program

A required certification for registered nurses (RN's) who will go on to provide comprehensive care to cancer patients receiving systemic therapy drug administration to a diverse cancer patient population.
About
The Systemic Therapy Education Program strives to support RN’s in utilizing an evidence-informed approach in the planning and provision of care to patients and their families receiving chemotherapy and biotherapy drugs (systemic therapy).

The education program, which reflects the Cancer Chemotherapy Nursing Standards and Competencies (2017) developed by the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO). It is open to RN’s employed by BC Cancer and RN's from the Community Oncology Network (CON). Current role in an oncology setting and manager endorsement is required. 

The program is comprised of four major components which are completed consecutively:


  1. Completion of a self directed theoretical component and an online, closed book, examination (pass mark 75%)
  2. Two 4 hour workshop sessions attended via virtual platform
  3. Minimum of a 3 day clinical practicum
  4. Continuing competency process
How to apply
1. Satisfy the prerequisites
To be considered for this program, you must:

  • Be a licensed Registered Nurse practicing in British Columbia
  • Be supported in this application by your manager
  • Have current employment in the oncology setting
  • Administer at least 50 chemotherapy drugs per year in order to maintain competency
  • Participate in continuing education directly related to the care of patients receiving systemic therapy 
2. Create a LearningHub account
If you do not already have a LearningHub account, please register online for one using your work email. Course correspondence and materials will be sent to this account.

3. Submit the application form(s)

BC Cancer Employees

If you are employed by BC Cancer, your manager submits the application form below. (Note: Payment is not required for BC Cancer employees.)

If you are external to BC Cancer (including the Community Oncology Network), your manager submits the application form below. Course Payment ($50) is required to process registeration.
Course details

For answers to frequently asked questions, click "+" on the questions below.

By the end of the practicum the RN will be able to:

 

1. Locate and utilize evidence based practice guidelines and organizational policies and procedures when caring for a patient receiving systemic therapy.

 2. Apply the principles of adult learning in the provision of systemic therapy patient care and teaching and understand importance of providing population specific needs such as cultural considerations


3. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the patient prior to initiating treatment with systemic therapy.

4. Complete an assessment of the patient's laboratory findings which relate to the individual treatment protocol.

5. Provide appropriate education and support to allow the patient and their family to understand treatment plan, potential side effects, appropriate self-care strategies, and when to contact the health care professionals.
 

6. Demonstrate infusion therapy skills (peripheral and central) necessary to safely administer systemic therapy.

7. Describe how to provide systemic therapy and demonstrate safe administration through various routes such as intravenous bolus, continuous infusions, oral therapy, intra-peritoneal, or subcutaneous or intramuscular injections.

8. Teach patients to safely manage continuous intravenous infusions utilizing elastomeric pumps and a central venous catheter.
 

9. Using appropriate organizational evidence informed guidelines to assess and manage potential complications, adverse events, side effects, and toxicities, and provide appropriate interventions.

10. Demonstrates knowledge of systemic therapy drugs, protocols, guidelines, including rationale for the use of pre-medications

11. Identify and safely manage hypersensitivity reactions according to organizational policies. 

 

12. Identify and safely manage extravasation according to organizational policies. 

13. Demonstrate knowledge of safe handling practices by providing the patient/family with information related to managing biohazardous wastes and by safely storing, handling, transporting and disposing of systemic therapy drugs.
 

14. Provide psychosocial oncology care and understand when to provide interprofessional referrals.
 

15. Document relevant patient data in the appropriate record.


 

The program is comprised of four major components which are completed consecutively:


  1. Completion of a self directed theoretical component and an online, closed book, examination (pass mark 75%)
  2. Two 4 hour workshop sessions attended via virtual platform
  3. Minimum 3 day clinical practicum
  4. Continuing competency process
Theoretical Component
This component of the learning program engages the RN in learning activities which examine:

  • Cancer Overview 

  • Diagnosis and Staging

  • Treatment Overview 

  • Systemic Therapy: Chemotherapy

  • Systemic Therapy: Biotherapy 

  • Side Effect Management: Chemotherapy 

  • Side Effect Management: Biotherapy

  • Infusion-Related Complications

  • Hormone Therapy 

  • Surgery 

  • Safe Handling of Antineoplastic Drugs and Wastes

Workshop
The workshop is delivered in two, 4 hour virtual platform 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.

Clinical Practicum
The minimum three day clinical practicum is held in a systemic therapy care setting. We recommend that the clinical practicum be scheduled within one month following the completion of the workshop.  An experienced systemic therapy 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 Systemic Therapy 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 systemic therapy 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.

Note: If the practicum component cannot be done within the applicant’s workplace, please email us for closest regional site contacts.  
 
The systemic therapy certified Registered Nurse (RN) is responsible for maintaining continuing competency in the care of patients receiving systemic therapy. This is demonstrated by:

  • BC Cancer strongly recommends that nurses should administer a minimum of at least 50 chemotherapy drugs per year and record this information on the Record of Exposure to Hazardous Drugs form.
  • Developing and following learning plans to apply and advance their knowledge and skills related to systemic therapy.
  • Seeking out professional development learning activities related to systemic therapy care and which inform and impact nursing practice.
  • Annually demonstrating continuing competency requirements have been met. If specified requirements are not met, the nurse must not administer systemic therapy until further discussion with their program leaders and/or Professional Practice Nursing at BC Cancer. 
If you have further questions about the Systemic Thearpy Education Program, please contact us by email.
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