Making the case for increased numbers of specialist nurses in prostate cancer

28 June 2019

The national prostate cancer charity, Prostate Cancer UK, has produced a web resource highlighting the positive contribution Clinical Nurse Specialists make in caring for men with prostate cancer. The aim of the resource is to promote the role of the CNS in prostate cancer and to try and ensure that every man with the disease has access to a CNS who can provide him with specialist support.

The charity highlights that there are variations in the provision of urological cancer CNSs across the UK, and that there are lower numbers of urological CNSs per patient than in other tumour sites;

Findings supported by the most recent Macmillan CNS Census ‘The Cancer Workforce in England’. Set against this there are increasing numbers of patients with prostate cancer, and across the four nations there will need to be an increase of more than 600 CNS posts by 2028 if every man with prostate cancer is to have access to a CNS.

Prostate Cancer UK also published survey results from 93 CNSs who responded to a questionnaire, and found that nearly half of these (49%) were intending to retire or leave nursing within the next 10 years. This is broadly in line with the Macmillan Census who found that around 35% of all specialist nurses would be eligible to retire within the next 10 years. This makes the recruitment and development of CNSs an urgent requirement if men with prostate cancer, and indeed all people with a cancer diagnosis, are to be provided with the care they deserve.

The web resource also provides case studies from both patients with prostate cancer and clinical nurse specialists, highlighting the value of the relationship between patient and nurse and the challenges faced by nursing teams with increasing numbers of patients.

The charity is strongly committed to increasing the provision of specialist nursing to men with prostate cancer. They make a number of recommendations to decision makers to make this a reality.

Their recommendations are:

  •  Plan a strategic workforce design through effective investment, training and education
  • Develop mature succession planning
  •  Provide administrative support for all specialist nurses so they have more time for clinical duties
  •  Invest in training to support the leadership skills of your CNS workforce to enable nurse-led services

Click here for the resource pack.