Sample Nursing Paper on Oncology Nurses and Health Promotion

As primary care practitioners, Oncology Nurses are visible community resources when it comes to healthcare delivery and education. Oncology Nurses have a uniquely ideal capability to practice health promotion as they see a broad scope of patient acuity and a variety of illnesses. This scholarly paper aims to highlight the role of oncology nurses in health promotion through the extrapolation and interpretation of several peer-reviewed articles. In this paper, I will outline the certifications and functions of the oncology nurse, break down health promotion, as well as compare and contrast the relationship between the two.

Oncology nurses offer specialist care to patients with cancer, and this is extended to the patient’s families as he/she moves along the disease path, starting with diagnosis to treatment and health restoration. According to James, Page and Sprague (2016), “the patient is capable of entering the remission to relapse that may result to death.” Thus, the nurses should employ the nursing process in assessing the patient’s needs as well as the family needs as identified in the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). Therefore, these include early detection and prevention, providing the patients and families with the necessary information on how to cope, the right diet, and how to protect the family members. Additionally, it is imperative to assess their mobility, sexuality, and ventilation of the patients’ rooms while making sure they are properly oxygenated. More so, the nurse should identify alternative and complementary therapies, palliative, and end of life care and survivorship.

Additionally, in a bid to improve and defeat cancer, the oncology nurses should use factors such as communication, community development, education on better health practices, and organizing a workshop to educate the patients and families on better health practices

Registered Nurses are self-regulated health care professionals that, in 2017, made up 48% of the Canadian healthcare workforce. Registered Nurses help facilitate and encourage individuals, families, communities and populations to reach their optimal level of health. Cancer departments were established to provide care for patients with serious medical attention, relating to cancer, and are unable to get medical attention from their family physician. Oncology departments are an ideal foundation of health promotion since they are a reliable source of information regarding health. Besides, they possess modern infrastructure for the development of health like community networks, and they are developed and recognized points of entry to the health system. Oncology nursing roles include the provision of care for cancer patients, research, management, provision of cancer education to the public, advocacy and consultation.

Nurses working in the Oncology Department require specialized training and often need to be Oncology Nurse Certified in Canada before practising. The Canadian Nurses Association recognized Oncology Nursing as a speciality in 1984, at which time they described the oncology-nursing practice as the assessment and diagnosis of cancer patients. Klafke et al. (2016), state that, “Emergency nursing may be uniquely challenging due to the broad scope of practice, a wide variety of patient acuity, health problems and injuries, as well as the fluctuating volume and unpredictable manner in which patients arrive.”  There will always be a need for this nursing speciality because not all cancer emergencies are preventable, nor are there enough primary care providers to treat such a large population. Because of Oncology Nurses specialized training and ideal placement in the healthcare system or hospital, they have a chance to be key health promotion practitioners.

Health promotion is one of the critical responsibilities of a registered nurse. The World Health Organization, a trusted sector in the United Nations, identifies health promotion as the process of providing education to citizens to allow them to raise control over a particular disease, which in turn will enhance improvement in their health. The framework for health promotion was developed in the hopes of emphasizing the health promotion practice based on the community, participation of community and health and social policies. Anette Schultz, a writer for the Canadian nurse, identified the three main concepts in Canadian health promotion for nurses as maintaining and enhancing health, developing individual and community resources as well as influencing personal habits and the environment. By keeping these concepts in mind, the health promotion practitioner can more easily support and acknowledge people as the primary health resource. In summary, health promotion is encouraging people to monitor their health closely by providing them with information resources they may use to improve their health effectively.

Having health promotion services such as wellness, cancer management and prevention resources in the oncology department has the capability of benefiting not only patients but also their family members, the surrounding in the cancer emergency department, and the greater community. The beneficiary is done by slowing the progression of disease and illness, preventing disease and injury, reducing repeated visits to the oncology department, decreasing Canadian healthcare costs, and as a result improving overall community health. According to Corcoran, Dunne and McCabe (2015), “Some professionals in the health sector perceive that the Cancer Emergency Department is not an advisable setting for patient education and health promotion.” Others are convinced that it offers practitioners a rare opportunity during which patients may be more motivated to learn. Additionally, in some cases, a moderate stress level increases an individual’s ability to learn, especially if the information provided to the patient or their family is not too complicated.

The emergency department may provide a significant opportunity to initiate prevention, screening, and counselling services for millions of patients who have no other source for these services. McMullen et al. (2016) state that, “The initiative prevention, screening and counselling services is especially significant considering that in 2014, four and a half million Canadians did not have a family physician” However, they do not necessarily have a reliable source of health information. However, this means when most patients arrive in the cancer department, almost every interaction can be treated as an opportunity for health promotion or patient teaching. For example, when a patient presents itself to the department with a laceration or puncture, an opportunity for the oncology nurse to implement educational intervention and ask the patient or check their chart concerning their last tetanus shot. However, this can be followed by a conversation, in this case, about booster shots that equip the patient with the information to protect their health in the future. Therefore, this of health promotion is crucial because individuals without family physicians may not see another health practitioner for an extended period. As a result, the oncology department may be their only source of care and their only opportunity to receive education regarding preventive care. Another area with potential for health promotion from emergency nurses is physical activity promotion. One of the leading cause of death in cancer patients worldwide is physical inactivity. Current research outlines the benefits of physical activity and has been available for the past five decades.

Because nurses make up a bigger professional group in the health care sector, they have the responsibility of promoting physical and exercise activities for the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases such as cancer. To encourage physical activity, oncology nurses need to understand and take advantage of their responsibility as prescribers of physical education advice. Therefore, nurses must be able to assess the readiness for physical activity, identify any barriers or risks and explore how to implement exercise into their life. With regard to Dahlin (2015), “nurses in the oncology department have the opportunity to help reduce future prehospital delays by providing detailed discharge teaching and telephone follow-up calls.” By advising patients on the signs and symptoms of any possibly recurring medical emergencies they might have, as well as following up with patients, nurses can significantly reduce the time before the emergency intervention . Therefore this is an exciting approach to health promotion because after the patient has been educated, an emergency certified nurse calls to check their understanding of discharge teaching. The faster a patient is able to identify the need for oncology services, the more efficiently they can access them. However, this perfectly exemplifies health promotion because emergency nurses work with the patient to develop resources to help them maintain their health.

In conclusion, emergency nursing provides a unique outlet for health promotion. A registered emergency oncology nurse is a health care professional who has the scientific principle knowledge, which is fundamental to the maintenance of health, treatment of diseases associated with cancer, as well as human behaviour. They are well equipped to apply the three main concepts of health promotion; maintaining and enhancing health, developing individual and community resources as well as influencing personal habits and the environment, to their practice. They can do this by treating every interaction in the emergency department as an opportunity for patient education. Some examples of this were detailed discharge teaching, follow-up calls, confirming immunizations and providing patients with useful and reliable community resources. Health promotion affects everyone, and it is a crucial aspect of the healthcare system. It is the responsibility of all to come up with ways to improve the health of the population, and emergency nurses are ideal candidates to facilitate this aspect.


Corcoran, S., Dunne, M., & McCabe, M. S. (2015). The role of advanced practice nurses in cancer survivorship care. In Seminars in oncology nursing. WB Saunders.

Dahlin, C. (2015). Palliative care: Delivering comprehensive oncology nursing care. In Seminars in oncology nursing. WB Saunders.

James, T. A., Page, J. S., & Sprague, J. (2016). Promoting interprofessional collaboration in oncology through a teamwork skills simulation programme. Journal of interprofessional care.

Klafke, N., Mahler, C., von Hagens, C., Blaser, G., Bentner, M., & Joos, S. (2016). Developing and implementing a complex Complementary and Alternative (CAM) nursing intervention for breast and gynecologic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy—report. (complementary nursing in gynecologic oncology) study. Supportive Care in Cancer.

McMullen, L., Banman, T., DeGroot, J. M., Scott, S., Srdanovic, D., & Mackey, H. (2016). Providing Novice Navigators with a GPS for Role Development: Oncology Nurse Navigator Competency Project. Clinical journal of oncology nursing.