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Gynaecological oncology nurses under-resourced and under-valued

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Gynaecological oncology nurses play a ‘vital’ role in the ovarian cancer patient pathway but are under-resourced and under-valued.

That is the initial finding of the first ever national study to map primary and secondary healthcare services for women with ovarian cancer, carried out by new national charity Target Ovarian Cancer.

Many of the nurses said that their direct managers, not being specialists themselves, lacked the experience and understanding of their role’s particular pressures and requirements.

‘We’re managed by the obs and gynae matron who doesn’t really have any knowledge of oncology...really we need to be managed by a specialist cancer nurse,’ said one respondent.

‘A big problem is that they’re trying to push people into our jobs that are lower grades, that are inexperienced and I think the service we provide is at risk of being completely diluted,’ said another specialist nurse.

‘Initial findings confirm the pivotal role specialist nurses play in the patient experience and the significant contribution they can make to a patient’s emotional and physical wellbeing,’ said Lisa Peck of the National Forum of Gynaecological Oncology Nurses, a gynaecological cancer clinical nurse specialist who is sitting on the multi-disciplinary panel of independent experts convened to shape the Pathfinder Study.

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