RECaN – Gathering evidence on the status of cancer nursing

Recognising European Cancer Nursing (RECaN) is a major project led by the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) and supported by the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO). 

The overall goal is to increase recognition of the value and contribution of cancer nursing across Europe – focusing on expert cancer nursing skills, research, education, clinical leadership, strategy and management roles, advocacy, and policy development.

Through the RECaN project, EONS and ECCO would like to see contemporary cancer nursing better recognised to ensure that:

  • Cancer nurses are core members of the multi-professional team

  • Cancer nursing should be a recognised speciality across Europe based on a mutually agreed educational curriculum

  • Education for specialist cancer nurses should be made available

  • Enhanced free movement of cancer nurses across Europe should be promoted and facilitated to help address rising demand.

This project is divided into three phases.

  • Phase 1: a systematic review of the impact of nursing on patient outcomes and experiences drawing on International evidence.

  • Phase 2: data gathering in four contrasting case study sites (countries) in Europe where nursing is at different stages of development.

  • Phase 3: engaging with the onco-policy community and sharing the findings from phases one and two; looking at how to promote nursing better in different political or health contexts within Europe.

This project involves the EONS board members and all of the four EONS working groups. The Research Working Group (RWG) was responsible for carrying out the first stage, the systematic review.

Phase 1:

Protocol for study

An important article in the Journal of Advanced Nursing – ‘Recognizing European cancer nursing: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence of effectiveness and value of cancer nursing’ – is available to read online. 

The authors are: Pauline Campbell, Claire Torrens, Daniel Kelly, Andreas Charalambous, Nuria Domenech-Climent, Iveta Nohavova, Ulrika Ostlund, Elisabeth Patiraki, David Salisbury, Lena Sharp, Theresa Wiseman, Wendy Oldenmenger and Mary Wells.

Papers including the results from the systematic review are currently being submitted for publication.

Phase 2:

Four countries were selected for data gathering: Estonia, Germany, Netherlands and UK. Data have been collected from all four countries, with focus group discussions and individual interviews with managers, clinical staff and other stakeholders. In total, close to 400 questionnaires have been collected and this valuable information on many issues, especially safety, working conditions, recognition and management. Analyses of both qualitative and quantitative data are currently on-going. The findings and conclusions will be presented at EONS11 in Munich this autumn.

Phase 3:

The results from Stages 1&2 will be available in May 2018 and will be presented at a meeting of policymakers in the European Union with a view to changing and developing the way cancer nursing is regarded and improving the recognition of its status in the profession, in line with the goals outlined above.