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The Top 9 Trends in Oncology Nursing

There's no question that healthcare wouldn't be the same without nurses. In the field of oncology, nurses play a vital role in caring for patients and their families. Cancer care in the COVID-19 era has presented oncology nurses with even more challenges, and healthcare will only continue to evolve in new ways after the pandemic. Here are a few trends in oncology nursing that are here to stay.

Simplivia Oncology Nursing CSTD

1. Technology in Healthcare is Growing

Most practices now utilize electronic health records. Electronic communication is becoming ever more widely used to monitor patients and communicate with them. It may only be a matter of time until everything is digital. All healthcare workers, from oncology nurses to hospital pharmacists, need to be tech-savvy moving into the future.3 Telehealth may become a new paradigm even for cancer care, during COVID and beyond.

2. Increased Number of Clinical Trials

Although COVID-19 has had some negative impact on clinical trials, reports showed that they were only increasing in 2019.3 In the decades beyond COVID-19, it's likely that clinical trials for antineoplastic drugs will once again be in full swing.

As we learn more about cancer and hazardous drugs that can treat it, safe medication administration will always be important. Simplivia's closed-system transfer devices (CSTDs) help to ensure safe handling of drugs for both oncology pharmacists and nurses, no matter the treatment modality.

3. Expanding Roles of Oncology Nurses

Few professions hold such a wide variety of possible roles as the field of nursing. Oncology nurses are experiencing increased diversity in their roles and responsibilities. And this shows no signs of letting up.

More and more oncology nurses are using, doing, and leading research in their field. Nurse researchers are key members of their teams, working hard towards improved cancer treatments and patient outcomes. Reports show that many practices are bringing on advanced practice practitioners (APPs) and giving them greater responsibility, which streamlines workflow.3

Oncology nurses are also performing more invasive procedures that may not have been within their scope just decades ago. Nurses can advance their degrees by becoming nurse practitioners, specialized nurses, professional care navigators, or advanced practice nurses (APNs).2 As the landscape of healthcare evolves, there will be even more opportunities for oncology nurses.

Simplivia Oncology Nursing Trends

4. Precision Medicine is On the Rise

Innovation and the use of precision medicine is steadily increasing in the oncology field.3 Precision medicine is a way of devising an individualized treatment plan, by considering genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

This is an area where nurse researchers are important within their interdisciplinary teams, seeking to improve cancer treatments through personalized medicine.2 Whatever treatment is used, it's important to optimize drug preparation. Simplivia's CSTDs can ensure safe, efficient preparation of hazardous drugs. Oncology pharmacists can practice safe drug preparation by using Chemfort™. These same CSTDs enable oncology nurses to administer medications in a way that's safe for both nurse and patient.

5. Increased Use of Novel Anti-Cancer Agents

With increased research and innovation, novel anti-cancer therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors are on the rise. These novel therapies are expected to make a large impact.3 In the next few years, oncology nurses will have to stay up-to-date in their knowledge of varied cancer therapies and safe handling of drugs, whether monoclonal antibodies (mAb), chemotherapy, or other hazardous drugs.

6. Incentives for Quality

There's also been an increase in the use of performance incentives for achieving quality goals.3 With growth of participation in merit-based incentive payment systems (MIPS), it's important for oncology nurses to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Nurses can help their organizations decrease costs by delivering medications safely and effectively. With high quality medical devices like Simplivia's Chemfort™, routine safe handling of hazardous drugs is a reality. No matter the treatment in question, our CSTDs will continue to support oncology nurses in the safe handling of hazardous drugs.

7. High Demand for Oncology Nurses

Given the landscape of cancer care, the demand for oncology nurses shows no signs of stopping. A vast workforce of nurses is needed to meet oncology goals for the future. Nursing shortages, perceptions about oncology being demanding or hazardous, and burnout are all roadblocks to a healthy workforce.

Finding ways to prevent burnout in nurses is important, especially during COVID-19. Recruitment strategies and continuing education will also help keep up the workforce.1 Organizations need great occupational safety policies, so nurses feel safe at work.

8. Location of Care

Now and into the future, oncology nurses will not only care for patients in an oncology ward, but also in patients' homes. When nurses are doing home care, they can't control the environment they're walking into. But it's still important to practice universal precautions and safe treatment administration.

After in-home care, the trend will likely be for patients to self-administer treatments and diagnostics. Simplivia's CSTDs ensure proper administration of hazardous drugs and ease of use, whether in a clinical or home setting.

9. Compassionate, Holistic Care

When it comes to nursing, one thing will never change. Nurses learn many technical skills during their careers and work in an extremely task-oriented world — but empathy and compassion will always be vital parts of nursing.

Oncology nurses care for all demographics of patients going through the most difficult times of their lives. Nurses help patients to heal, not only with the medical treatments they give, but with the compassionate care they bring to the table every day.

It's clear that managing cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond will never be the same as it was just decades ago. But this is a good thing. New research and advances in medicine will likely save countless lives going forward.

Oncology nurses will only grow in their roles and continue to be indispensable members of their teams. Simplivia will be here for the long haul, supporting oncology nurses, pharmacists, and providers who stand on the front lines in the war against cancer.

1. Chalinor, J., Alqudimat, M., et al. Oncology Nursing Workforce: Challenges, Solutions, and Future Strategies. The Lancet. December 2020.
2. Cummings, G., Lee, S., et al. The Evolution of Oncology Nursing: Leading the Path to Change. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal. Fall 2018.


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