Yee Haw! Cowtown is Comin’ ‘Round in April

Cowtown+LogoTexas Christian University’s Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences is pleased to announce the date for their fourth annual Cowtown Oncology Symposium. Cowtown aims to meet the educational needs of nurses who provide care to oncology patients, and to increase awareness of current trends in the field.

NOEP will present a poster at Cowtown: End of Life Care Nursing Education and Implications for Practice, in which we outline nurses’ response to an online podcast, The Nurse’s Role in End of Life Care.

In addition to posters, Cowtown boasts an all-star line-up of speakers. Two of NOEP’s long-time allies, Mary Beth Kean, DNP, RN-BC, ACNS, CCRN and Joni Watson, MBA, MSN, RN, OCN, will speak about Pain Management/Palliative Care and Survivorship, respectively. If you can get to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area on Saturday, April 26, this all day event should not be missed.

Beyond the Diagnosis: Cancer in LGBT Populations

iStock_000018875964SmallThe code of ethics of the American Nurses Association directs nurses to provide compassionate, culturally sensitive, and competent care to every individual (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2001). Every nurse should develop the knowledge and sensitivity necessary to provide appropriate cancer-related care to people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Although there are no inherent biological differences between heterosexual and LGBT people, other factors may lead to increased cancer incidence, later-stage diagnosis, and to less positive cancer survivorship. As a minority population, LGBT people are more likely to experience barriers to preventive healthcare. Other differences that may increase cancer risk among LGBT people include health behaviors that increase cancer risk and predisposing health conditions such as sexually transmitted diseases and the use of hormone therapy.

Although the number of LGBT cancer survivors in the United States is unknown, it is clear that differences in this population’s access and utilization of healthcare, primary prevention practices, and other risk factors place some LGBT people at greater risk for cancer. Nurses can help reduce this disparity by using gender neutral language with clients whose sexual orientation is unknown, assessing for risk factors that might impact recommendations for routine cancer screening, and by being aware of survivorship concerns of special importance to LGBT people. Nurses can assist patients who have disclosed their sexual orientation by directing them to LGBT-friendly providers and specialists and encouraging them to share their status with other providers to assure they receive comprehensive care. Another way that nurses can support LGBT cancer survivors is by educating themselves about cancer care, support resources that are accepting of people regardless of their sexual orientation, and programs that exist specifically to serve the LGBT population.

Learn more about this topic and earn 1.1 contact hours with NOEP’s online course, Beyond the Diagnosis: Cancer in LGBT Populations by Doris Coward, PhD, MSN. In reviewing the course, one nurse wrote, “This should be a required course for all Nurses, PA’s, Social Workers, NP’s and Physicians!” and another said, “I found this topic to be very interesting and had not read anything before that so succinctly gave as much information.”

Hurry, this offering expires on February 27, 2014!

Public Art: Drawing the Line Against Cancer

MDACC art wallTwo of NOEP’s favorite partners, Alpheus Media and MD Anderson Cancer Center, teamed up on an exciting new campaign that began Saturday, Jan. 18: “Help Draw the Line Against Cancer“. My son Zac and I were two of approximately 100 Central Texans who joined together on that gorgeous day to assist. On Frank’s public art wall in downtown Austin, we painted a 30-foot red line through the word “Cancer” to symbolize the need to eradicate this disease. We also wrote personal tributes on the wall to mourn losses and celebrate lives.

Among the fantastic people we met there, some shared their stories in interviews. We look forward to what comes next!

–Lisa Kathleen Watson

Meet TNA’s New Executive Director

CindyZ-webWe are happy to announce that Cindy Zolnierek, PhD, RN was recently appointed the Executive Director of the Texas Nurses Association.

Cindy has been a “career-long member” of the American Nurses Association, and is passionate about the nursing profession. She served as TNA’s Director of Practice from 2007 to 2011.

Cindy has worked in the nursing profession for over 30 years, as a staff nurse, a clinical nurse specialist, and in nurse executive positions in Michigan and California. She is an expert in adult psychiatric/mental health nursing. Her dissertation entitled The lived experience of non-psychiatric hospitalization for people with severe mental illness explored the experience of people with severe mental illness in medical-surgical settings, as well as how nurses can better serve this population.

Please join NOEP in welcoming Dr. Zolnierek to the Texas Nurses Association family!

Cervical Health: What Nurses Need to Know

CervAwarenessNew Year’s resolutions are SO last week. But the entire month of January is about Cervical Health Awareness. This month reminds us about the link between HPV and cervical cancer, as well as HPV prevention, and the importance of screening for early detection.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.  There are an estimated 6.2 million new infections annually.  Most infections resolve spontaneously, but an estimated 20 million people have persistent HPV infection, believed to be responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

There are two HPV vaccines licensed by the FDA and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These vaccines are Cervarix and Gardasil. Both vaccines are effective against diseases caused by HPV types 16 and 18, which cause most cervical cancers. Additionally, Gardasil has been tested and licensed for use in males, and also protects against HPV types 6 and 11, the types that cause most genital warts.

Cervarix and Gardasil are licensed, safe, and effective for females ages 9 through 26 years. CDC recommends that all 11 or 12 year old girls get the 3 doses (shots) of either brand of HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. Girls and young women ages 13 through 26 should get HPV vaccine if they have not received any or all doses when they were younger.

Literature suggest that nurses and other healthcare providers are not equipped with the knowledge and awareness that would cause them to recommend the HPV vaccine to their patients and their patients’ parents. Many healthcare providers are misinformed about HPV infection, its consequences and cervical cancer screening, and are less comfortable vaccinating younger patients (the age group for which it is routinely recommended) than older adolescents. At the same time, adolescent females, their parents, and providers are generally interested in vaccines that prevent HPV and other STDs; and recommendations for vaccination by providers are persuasive. Health care providers must be well informed to educate patients and families.

Equip yourself with the knowledge necessary to prevent HPV and cervical cancer. Take NOEP’s course on Preparing Tomorrow’s Nurses in Cervical Cancer Prevention, available for 0.66 contact hours of no-cost continuing nursing education. If you’re in the Houston area, consider attending the annual HPV and Cervical Cancer Summit on Jan. 22. Cancer survivors attend free.

NOEP Nursing Faculty Partner Named Fellow

Suzy LockwoodSuzy Lockwood PhD, MSN, RN, OCN, FAAN, a core member of the NOEP Steering Committee, was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) at the AAN’s annual meeting on October 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. Dr. Lockwood is a nursing professor and director of the Center for Oncology Education & Research at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Fellows of the Academy–one of the most prestigious honors in nursing–are nominated and selected based on their leadership skills and commitment to the profession. The Academy is comprised of more than 2,000 nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy and research. Fellows represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 19 countries.

Dr. Lockwood is certainly well deserving of this honor, as she has significantly contributed to the nursing profession through her expertise and leadership in oncology nursing. Her efforts to encourage nurses to specialize in oncology involve developing new oncology educational models for undergraduates and graduate students. Dr. Lockwood has presented at more than 40 cancer-focused presentations to community members and leaders.
Dr. Lockwood has been an active member of the NOEP Steering Committee for more than six years, and has proved to be a strong advocate for oncology nursing education. She also serves on the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Board of Directors and leads the Woman’s Cancer Group for the American Cancer Society.
Thank you Dr. Lockwood for all that you do for NOEP, for your students, for the nursing profession, and for cancer patients who have benefited from your expertise, passion, and advocacy!

Palliative Care Network Virtual Conference

doctor and senior patientNOEP recently participated in the International Palliative Care Network Conference, which went live in October, and is still going strong through the month of December. You can register for free, and virtually “attend” this conference here. Participants from all over the world have come together to discuss current research on palliative and end of life care.

NOEP’s poster, End of Life Nursing Education and Implications for Practice, summarizes the need for education on end of life care found in our 2009 biannual needs assessment. It also describes our online podcast, The Nurse’s Role in End of Life Care, and our evaluation of the (now expired for CE) course.

NOEP’s online podcast significantly increased nurses’ self-assessed end of life knowledge, including the similarities and differences between hospice and palliative care, and the multiple roles of the nurse in end of life care, which are noted below.

Role of the Nurse in End of Life Care:

  • Reliable support
  • Educator
  • Comforter in pain and symptom management
  • Knowledgeable resource in ethical discernment, disclosure, and decision making
  • Patient advocate
  • Communicator and mediator
  • Support in loss and grief
  • Companion in the final hours

Barriers to quality care at the end of life include the following:

  • Failure to acknowledge limits of medicine
  • Lack of adequate training
  • Denial of death
  • Rules/regulations (insurance coverage, controlled substance regulation)
  • Poor understanding of hospice and palliative care

Every nurse has some experience with patients and families at the end of life. Often times, these experiences are the most challenging. The more knowledgeable we are about this topic, the more able we are to educate our patients and provide them with the best possible experience in the terminal stages of life.

For an updated overview on this important topic, keep an eye out for NOEP’s new course Competence in Cancer Care: End of Life Care and Survivorship, coming soon!