Radiation Oncology Essay

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Introduction
Scientific and technological advances in the field of Radiation Oncology have led to the introduction of new and updated treatment modalities and combined therapies across the cancer care continuum and evidence based symptom management.
Today healthcare environment is characterized by higher patient acuity, more complex treatment for cancer and a shift from the delivery of cancer care and treatment in specialized inpatient to ambulatory outpatient treatment facilities. The challenges of rapidly ageing population and escalating rates of chronic diseases lead to an expansion and demand for cancer services (Mitchell, 2012).
Radiation Oncology patients are very challenging because more patients are undergoing combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy along with different radiation treatment modalities such as IMRT, IGRT, Tomotherapy and SBRT. Thus, is increase the complexity of treatment and coordinating patient care. In addition, patients may present earlier with more intense acute symptoms that may last longer than expected. At times signs of late toxicities may also be intensified. According to Gosselin-Acomb, (2006), both chemotherapy and Radiation treatment have their own independent side effects. However, when both treatment are administered simultaneously, may have a synergistic effect and exacerbate the side effect of other treatments.
Faced with this detrimental effects of treatment, there is an imperative need on APN in radiation oncology (Carper, Haas, 2006).
Currently, there are only 4 APNs in NCCS with three of them specializing in chemotherapy and one specialized in radiation oncology.
As stated by Schober, (2010), although advanced nursing has been around for a few decades worldwide, the APN initiative i...

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... times, when the clinic sessions are too overwhelming and there is a prolonged patient waiting time. Radiation Oncologist may not be readily available to provide guidance and advice to the APN when needed. Occasionally, due to heavy patient load, some radiation oncologist may not communicate effectively and forget to relate certain key information to the APN. As stated by Hanson & Spross, (2009), one of the barriers to integrated teamwork are inconsistent behaviours, withholding of information and lack of follow-through.
Likewise, APNs need to work in close collaboration and alliance with radiation therapists who delivers the radiation treatment according to patient’s treatment plan as they play a part in helping to monitor any potential side effects such as skin breakdown or changes that may usually occur within the treatment field (Smith, Carlin & Alcorese, 2011).

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