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2017 NCCN Nursing Program Addresses Treatment and Supportive Care Issues for Management of Patients with Cancer

On March 22, 2017,  the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) hosted its 2017 Nursing Program: Advancing Oncology Nursing™ in conjunction with the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care™ in Orlando, Florida. Covering a range of supportive care and disease-specific patient treatment issues, this one-day program offered oncology nurses comprehensive and clinically relevant information regarding management of patients with cancer.

The program commenced with a presentation on creating a compassionate workplace by Susan Childress, RN, MN, OCN, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. Ms. Childress discussed strategies that teams can use to identify symptoms of and develop personal self-care tactics to avoid common issues plaguing the nursing community in oncology, including burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress. Moreover, Ms. Childress discussed strategies that can be implemented at an organizational level to create compassionate environments less conducive to these issues.

Miranda Naegele, MSN, RN, LMT, CEN, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, presented strategies to improve the management of febrile neutropenia, including how to efficiently identify symptoms and employ strategies to quickly reduce time to treatment in the emergency department. Reducing time to treatment and determining the appropriate broad-spectrum antibiotics clearly impacts morbidity and mortality, and patients are at much lower risk of developing sepsis, Ms. Naegele explained.

This year’s program featured concurrent clinical sessions from which attendees could choose the subject most pertinent to their roles. During the following presentations, experts from NCCN Member Institutions discussed evidence-based treatment updates and potential future therapies, as well as identifying and treating adverse events:

Following the concurrent sessions, Anne Kolenic, MSN, RN, AOCNS, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, presented tactics for optimizing the nursing role in difficult conversations, discussing the importance of provider-patient communication. Ms. Kolenic outlined challenges associated with conversations about patient prognosis and end-of-life care, and described tactics approaching these conversations, such as how to elicit a patient’s story and integrate it into the care discussion, approaching discussions from a value perspective, and the importance of non-verbal expressions of empathy.

The program’s final presentation from Kathryn Ciccolini, BSN, RN, OCN, DNC, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, focused on the management of dermatologic adverse events in patients with cancer caused by a multitude of therapies, including but not limited to conventional chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted anti-cancer therapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Ms. Ciccolini described the various adverse events and familiarized attendees with clinical care options, such as topical agents, steroids, and over-the-counter products.  She stressed the importance of patient education on dermatologic adverse events, as well as the importance of collaboration of care among the team in order to improve the patient’s quality of life.

The first annual NCCN Nursing Forum: Advancing Oncology Nursing in Hematologic Malignancies™ will be held on October 6, 2017, in conjunction with the NCCN 12th Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies™ in San Francisco, California. For more information, visit