This is the second conference of its kind and it’s lovely that they have included all different disciplines because we can only work as a multidisciplinary team. UKONS have collaborates with many members, with other organisations as well. As part of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, that’s ISNCC that all UKONS members are members of, we build some programmes in low and middle income countries. So these are education and research and across the cancer continuum. It starts from, of course, prevention and screening, which are probably the most important, through to treatment and management and survivorship, which isn’t great in low and middle income countries, but end of life care which is good.
Could you tell us about members going global?
The members are going global and they’re doing this, we can only do it in collaboration with other organisations. We have a Nurse Chair of the UICC, so that’s the big global cancer control organisation, this is great. Sanchia Aranda is really influencing increasing awareness of the influence of nurses as well and we also work with the American Cancer Society because these programmes need funding. We have a flagship programme at the moment in Central and Latin America which is looking at the nurse-led advocacy for cervical and now breast screening programmes as well. So that’s a train the trainer programme that UKONS members are part of but through ISNCC and really making an impact in these are some of the middle income countries but some low income countries as well.
So we got funding from three bodies: from ISNCC, UICC and the American Cancer Society. It started off with looking at cervical screening and culturally specific to the country, so I’m talking about Latin America here. We held workshops and put together educational programmes for the nurses and then we got head nurses, not particular cancer nurses because a lot of these nurses are general nurses as well, and midwives and held workshops in the country. That was like train the trainer with a slide programme together. Then these nurses went out and were given some funding to implement a project which was culturally specific to their country but their area of the country as well. Whatever kind of cervical screening programme was going it was to increase the awareness among patients. So the evaluation of the course, of course, was excellent but we are waiting on the evaluation of the impact on the patient population, or the people really. They’re not patients, the people population.
A meeting such as this must be good for collaboration?
Disciplines have to work together but nurses are in a unique position as trusted members of the health community. So the WHO tell us that they are in a unique position to lead some of these programmes as well. We have two world stars through ISNCC in tobacco control as well. So Professor Linda Sarna and Professor Stella Bialous, who is President of ISNCC at the moment, lead a WHO World Tobacco Cessation Programme. They again are using the train the trainer model and these are middle income countries at the moment but being transferred to sub-Saharan Africa currently as well. So this conference is superb to get all aspects of global oncology. There are big, big question marks and what the Royal Society of Medicine could do through this medium is really take a coordination role. So we’re all doing wee programmes here, there and everywhere and to coordinate that would be just wonderful.