All nurses, regardless of practice setting, are required to work collaboratively with the person affected by cancer to address their health needs. At all stages of life and at several points across the cancer continuum, people affected by cancer will require services from nurses in generalist settings such as:
- general practice
- diagnostic services
- general medical/surgical services.
People affected by cancer may also have co-morbidities. They may live with the consequences of cancer beyond an active diagnostic and treatment phase, in survivorship or at end of life.
When in contact with people affected by cancer, all nurses need to be capable of applying generic nursing competencies to meet the health needs of these individuals. For example, some of the key cancer care concepts identified as relevant for nurses entering practice include basic skills in:
- psychological, social and emotional support
- understanding the meaning of cancer.