Aim: To describe the nursing capacity-building process within the foundation of a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) centre at the Hiwa Cancer Hospital (HCH), Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, referring to nursing education, empowerment and leadership.
Methods: 1) Capacity building, the process by which individuals, organisations, institutions and societies develop abilities to perform functions, solve problems and set and achieve objectives, was implemented; 2) Nurse intervention was based exclusively on training and coaching on site, which is an innovative approach, since more often experts are brought to the centre to train people on site; 3) Nurses’ personal skills, knowledge and training needs in the field at the HSCT centre were preliminarily explored through an online survey, and intervention was also addressed considering personal preferences and challenges; 4) Clinical documentation implementation and nursing professional organisation improvements were developed.
Results/findings: 1) up to June 2018, 98 patients have been transplanted (69 autologous 29 allogeneic graft). The centre at the HCH represents the first in Kurdistan and the only centre carrying out allogeneic transplants in the whole of Iraq; 2) twenty-two staff nurses; three nurses in charge and one head nurse are employed in the HSCT centre. Nurses currently have good capability to manage daily care for patients in the HSCT centre. There are still training needs to be addressed; 3) and 4) implementation of organigram, job description and nursing plans. The situation, background, assessment, recommendation method for nursing handover was introduced. Nursing shifts duration was changed.
Conclusion/implications for nursing: Capacity building cooperation is a powerful means to successfully establish a high technology medical programme, and is a feasible method to enhance skills and expertise even in low resources contexts. The programme is still in progress and consolidating actions are still required. Nurses need to enforce professional leadership and work organisation. The HSCT centre local team needs to improve teamwork and shared decision making.