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Building A High Quality Oncology Nursing Workforce Through Lifelong Learning: The De Souza Model

  • Mary Jane Esplen EMAIL logo , Jiahui Wong , Esther Green , Joy Richards and Jane Li


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Along with increased new cases, cancer care has become increasingly complex due to advances in diagnostics and treatments, greater survival, and new models of palliative care. Nurses are a critical resource for cancer patients and their families. Their roles and responsibilities are expanding across the cancer care continuum, calling for specialized training and support. Formal education prepares nurses for entry level of practice, however, it does not provide the specialized competencies required for quality care of cancer patients. There is urgent need to align the educational system to the demands of the health care system, ease transition from formal academic systems to care settings, and to instill a philosophy of lifelong learning. We describe a model of education developed by de Souza Institute in Canada, based on the Novice to Expert specialty training framework, and its success in offering structured oncology continuing education training to nurses, from undergraduate levels to continued career development in the clinical setting. This model may have global relevance, given the challenge in managing the demand for high quality care in all disease areas and in keeping pace with the emerging advances in technologies.


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Received: 2016-12-24
Revised: 2017-11-21
Accepted: 2017-11-28
Published Online: 2018-01-05

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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