The nation is facing a shortage of cancer care providers. Nurse practitioners have established evidence of cost-effectiveness, patient satisfaction and quality care outcomes in multiple care settings, prompting the rapid growth of these professionals in cancer care. Nurse practitioners without previous cancer care experience are entering oncology positions without any additional training or education, leaving susceptibility for poor patient outcomes and risk management vulnerabilities.
Aims : To refine and conduct an electronic oncology educational program of up to 6 months for nurse practitioners in their first year of oncology practice paired with an onsite mentor. This project wll seek to monitor the impact of this curriculum on the knowledge, confidence, learning and supportive needs, as well as usage among both the participants and their mentors. In Year 1, the curriculum will be refined and readied for online dissemination. In Years 2 through 5, we will monitor the impact of the curriculum on participants'self and mentors'assessment of cancer knowledge and confidence in delivering cancer care, monitor the impact of the curriculum on the nurse practitioners'attention to patient reported outcomes, monitor the learning and supportive needs of the nurse practitioner and the onsite clinical mentor in the first months of oncology practice, evaluate the utilization of curricular materials by the oncology nurse practitioner and onsite clinical mentor, evaluate the acceptability of the content and delivery of the curriculum and evaluate long term advanced practice nursing activities from the nurse practitioner alumni. In Year 5, we will finalize the content of the Adult Cancer Care curriculum for sustained dissemination. Methods: This application, Adult Cancer Care: An Educational Program for Oncology Nurse Practitioners is a program of education for nurse practitioners in the first months of cancer care practice. It consists of four online modules: 1) essential introductory cancer content;2) issues in quality and safety in cancer care;3) comprehensive content regarding specific malignancies, and 4) role development for the oncology nurse practitioner. There will also be a corresponding guide for the identified local nurse practitioner or physician onsite clinical mentor with suggestions for content synthesis and clinical application of content. The online curriculum will be offered nationally to 100 nurse practitioners new to cancer care practice over a 39 month period. The online course can be completed in 4 to 6 months. Evaluation: The primary outcome is the nurse practitioner's perceived level of knowledge and confidence in the delivery of cancer care pre and post the oncology educational curriculum. The nurse practitioner's attention to patient reported outcomes will also be measured pre and post curriculum. Curriculum overall will be assessed by the nurse practitioners and onsite mentors. Implications: Following national evaluation, this program can be sustained as an electronic Continuing Nursing Education offering through the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.
Nurse practitioners have established evidence of cost-effectiveness, patient satisfaction and quality care outcomes in multiple care settings prompting the rapid growth of these professionals in cancer care. For nurse practitioners prepared under a generalist educational paradigm, there is additional education specific to cancer care that is necessary for the provision of safe and appropriate care of the cancer patient and family across the disease trajectory. This application, Adult Cancer Care: An Educational Program for Oncology Nurse Practitioners, is a program of online education for nurse practitioners in the first year of cancer care practice and is a response to the critical educational need for these unique cancer care providers, assuring the public quality and safety in the provision of cancer care.