Nurses can now access a free online learning course that has the “potential to improve patient care”, according to the blood cancer research charity Bloodwise.
It consists of 10 chapters providing an overview of blood cancers, treatments and possible side effects, as well as practical skills that nurses need and information on providing emotional support.
“Treatment for some blood cancers can be very complex and intensive”
It includes a number of top tips, reflection points and knowledge quizzes. A discussion forum also enables shared learning between nurses and communication between different hospitals.
The content for the course – titled Introduction to Haemato-oncology Nursing – was devised by clinical nurse specialists, clinical educators, research nurses and transfusion practitioners.
The charity noted that the resource had been piloted for three months. It said nurses who took part reported increased confidence and understanding of basic haematology concepts, identifying common complications and knowing how to respond, and understanding their role in emotional support and signposting.
The charity said the resource would be helpful for nurses at a range of levels, from new starters in haematology to those more experienced but in need of a refresher course, It should also prove useful for nurses working with blood cancer patients of various ages, it noted.
In addition, the programme, which has been shortlisted for the Nursing Times Awards this year, meets the Royal College of Nursing standards for accreditation and counts as 4.5 hours of continuing professional development study, said the charity.
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Reta Brownlow, head of patient services at Bloodwise, said: “Advancements in treatments have meant that while many patients with blood cancer remain well for extended periods, some can quickly deteriorate and end up very sick in hospital.
“Treatment for some blood cancers can be very complex and intensive,” she said. “This means that the nurses supporting them must have a high level of knowledge and skill.
“This resource has the potential to improve patient care by providing new nurses a solid introduction to the incredibly complex area of haemato-oncology,” she added.
Aisling MacCarthy, clinical educator for oncology at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, said: “This resource has been absolutely fantastic in allowing both newly qualified nurses and nurses new to haematology to get to grips with the basics at their own pace and without getting too overwhelmed.
“It certainly has freed up some of my time and it really helps with new nurses’ induction,” she added.