7 Questions: Natalie Doyle on oncology nursing

Nurse consultant Natalie Doyle explains the remit of the UK Oncology Nursing Society and why it is important to ensuring that cancer nurses’ voices are heard.

What prompted you to join the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS)?

I wanted to play my part in the cancer nursing community in order to ensure the nursing voice would be heard.

The mission of UKONS is: ‘Inspiring Cancer Nursing’. What does this entail?

As an organisation we aim to provide nurses working in cancer care with a collective voice that can influence the cancer, and wider health, agenda. We aim to support nurses with their research, education, training and professional development needs as the climate of care changes and, importantly, promote a sense of community.

What are UKONS’ priorities for the next five years?

Our key priorities are to increase membership to become the voice of more nurses working in cancer care and to influence the cancer care and wider health agenda. We also want to create members’ interest groups, to increase our collaborations in the UK and internationally and to get our members engaged in research. We also have plans to provide a structured annual education programme, including an annual conference.

Education and training are core to UKONS. Can you give us some examples of recent initiatives?

The UKONS Cancer Foundations Programme has been developed for novice nurses or other health care professionals wanting to learn the basics of the disease and treatment and care options. We have also introduced the UKONS Health Coaching Academy and the first cohort of members has been recruited to undertake motivational interviewing-based health and wellbeing coaching.

What areas of cancer research and treatment need more attention?

We need to increase the amount and status of qualitative research studies. I think the link between patient experience and outcomes needs greater exploration and there should be more longitudinal studies of the consequences of cancer. In the treatment phase more initiatives must be developed to help patients and carers cope at home.

What needs to be done to help nurses and HCPs in the UK to provide the best cancer services in the world?

There are three main paths: through the production and use of evidence-based practice, staff support, particularly in education and training, as well as role development.

What will healthcare look like in 2035?

I anticipate it will be much more community focused, with joined-up health and social care. The population will be older, with more people over 85 than under 19 (cancer is predominantly a disease of the elderly). Cancer will become one of many long-term conditions. Qualified nurses will be supported by a diverse workforce of support staff.

About the interviewee:

Natalie Doyle MSc RGN is Nurse Consultant for Living With & Beyond Cancer at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. As co-chair of The Royal Marsden Living With & Beyond Cancer (Survivorship) Committee, she leads the practical implementation of the Recovery Package for the Trust.

She is also the chair of the Survivorship Pathway Group for the London Cancer Alliance (LCA), which is committed to facilitating the delivery of a comprehensive service for people living with and beyond cancer across the designated area.

Additionally, Natalie is a member of Macmillan’s Consequences of Cancer Treatment Collaborative (CCaT) and in her capacity as immediate past president of UKONS, she co-chairs the Cancer Nursing Partnership, a collaboration representing over 22,000 nurses implementing the delivery of the Recovery Package. Email her at: natalie.doyle@rmh.nhs.uk

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