There are a number of key professional issues which must be considered in the administration of antineoplastic agents:
- nurse competency
- health professional roles and responsibilities
- policy and procedure.
To prepare nurses to administer antineoplastic agents, educational programs should include both theoretical and supervised clinical experience.16 Regular assessment of nurses' competence should occur to ensure theory and practice remains evidence based, and to help prevent errors in administration.17
EdCaN has developed a competency assessment tool18 for evaluating a specialist cancer nurses' competence in administering antineoplastic agents.
The Cancer Institute NSW has developed the Antineoplastic Drug Administration Course (ADAC) which supports health professionals develop the necessary knowledge and clinical skills to administer antineoplastic drugs via different routes and handle related waste safely. It is becoming nationally recognised as a minimum requirement nurse competence in administration of antineoplastic agents.
Risk assessment and quality assurance are key elements of safe practice associated with antineoplastic agents. Systems, policies and procedures are required to support the reporting of adverse events, incidents and near misses. Identification of 'error prone' practices may indicate the need for practice modification.16
The Guidelines for the Safe Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Cancer Chemotherapy(PDF, 319KB)16 is a national document developed to provide guidance on the safe prescribing, dispensing and administration of antineoplastic agents used in the treatment of cancer. This document should be used as a guidance tool to inform local practice and be adapted according to local service needs.
Outline the roles and responsibilities of the nurse in antineoplastic agent administration.
Access the EdCaN Competency assessment tool for antineoplastic agent administration18, The Guidelines for the Safe Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Cancer Chemotherapy(PDF, 319KB)16 or the editorial Medication errors in hospitals: what can be done?19 as well as current state or territory guidelines.
- Discuss processes that are in place in your health facility to ensure safe standards of antineoplastic administration.
- Discuss the strengths of your facility's current antineoplastic agent administration practices in light of the recommendations within these documents.
- Identify any areas for improving your facility's current antineoplastic agent administration practices in light of the recommendations within these documents.
- Describe how you would manage an administration error involving an antineoplastic agent.