Evaluation of the role of the breast care nurse at Toowoomba Base Hospital

Eley, Robert and Rogers-Clark, Cath and Knight, Christine (2007) Evaluation of the role of the breast care nurse at Toowoomba Base Hospital. Project Report. University of Southern Queensland , Toowoomba, Australia. [Report]


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[Executive Summary]: The Supporting Rural Women with Breast Cancer Project started in Toowoomba in January 2005 with a Breast Care Nurse in a full time position in July 2005. The aim of the project is to develop and implement a revised multidisciplinary model of care resulting in the reorganisation and enhanced coordination of breast care services provided by Toowoomba Health Service District.

A key deliverable under the service agreement with the Australian Government is the implementation of an evaluation plan and the compilation of an evaluation report. A decision on continuation of project initiatives will be informed in part by the results of the evaluation reported herein which was conducted by the Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health (CRRAH) based at the University of Southern Queensland.

Structured questionnaires were used for both patient and stakeholder feedback. Fifty-one former breast cancer patients were interviewed by telephone. Twenty questions polled patients’ views on their access to the Breast Care Nurse and the nurse’s role in coordinating care, referral to other health professionals, and in providing information and psychosocial, emotional and practical support.

Stakeholders received the questionnaire through the Toowoomba Health Services internal email system and returned completed questionnaires by reply paid mail to CRRAH. The questions were designed to provide views on the support that the Breast Care Nurse had made to a multi disciplinary treatment regimen. Views on the reasons for success or failure of the programme were also elicited.

Widespread knowledge of the Breast Care Nurse prior to breast cancer treatment was poor; patients were unaware of the Breast Care Nurse until their first contact with her which was usually at the Surgical Outpatients Clinic held at the BreastScreen Toowoomba Service. More information about the position and role could be made available through GPs.

Results from the patients revealed enormous gratitude for the support that they received from the Breast Care Nurse. There was overwhelming agreement that the timing of contact, ease of accessibility, information provided and support offered was extremely valuable in making their treatment and recovery easier. The vast majority of participants would recommend to their friends that they should attend hospitals with a Breast Care Nurse.

Similar sentiments about the value of the Breast Care Nurse were received from stakeholders who recognised the benefit of the position not only to patients but also to the multidisciplinary team members in terms of coordination and liaison. However stakeholders did believe that a multidisciplinary team approach had not yet been fully achieved.

The importance of maintaining a full time position of Breast Care Nurse was noted by both patients and stakeholders as accessibility of the nurse to patients was a key feature of the success of the programme.

The study was in agreement with several other Australian reports all of which have demonstrated the success of dedicated Breast Care Nurses. The recommendation from the evaluation team is that the position of a full time Breast Care Nurse should be maintained. The Breast Care Nurse model is one that could be used successfully to support other medical conditions

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Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ publication. Authors retain copyright.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2008 01:17
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2015 06:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: nurses, breast cancer, evaluation, breast care nurses
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111004 Clinical Nursing: Tertiary (Rehabilitative)
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420506 Sub-acute care
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/2601

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