SAN FRANCISCO--Clinical specialist nurses from around the country are
working together to create a curriculum that will educate other
nurses about biotherapies used to treat certain cancers in
combination with chemotherapy. The group met at the Oncology Nursing
Society meeting to discuss the project.
Sponsored by Chiron Therapeutics, and compiled and produced by
GenQuest of San Diego, the curriculum is a multimedia effort that
will be distributed to educators in hospitals, clinics, and nursing
societies around the country.
place new demands on the role of the nurse," said Paula Rieger,
cancer detection specialist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and
chairperson of the advisory board helping to create the curriculum.
"Nurses have to know how to manage the side effects of these
drugs, and how to educate patient and teach them self-care skills."
The curriculum includes an overview of the mechanisms of how
biotherapies work, side effects, use in todays health-care
system, and facts about specific biotherapy agents. "This
curriculum gives nurses a baseline level of knowledge and shows them
the important questions to ask when theyre dealing with a
patient on biotherapy," Ms. Rieger said.
Initially, the curriculum will be used primarily to educate
instructors or clinical specialists in hospitals and nursing schools.
It may also be available for continuing education credit by local
nursing societies. Other nurses who may benefit from the curriculum
include general practice nurses who may see patients who are
receiving biotherapeutic agents.
Since biotherapy is a rapidly developing area of treatment, the new
curriculum can help nurses stay abreast. "New drugs are coming
on line all the time," said Nancy Moldawer, clinical research
nurse at UCLA and a member of the advisory board. "The
information in this curriculum will enhance nurses work with
oncologists," she said.
The curriculum should be ready for distribution in September, said
Mary Callaghan, a clinical program supervisor at GenQuest."We
want the curriculum to provide nurses with a basic foundation in
biotherapy which they can build upon to increase their
knowledge," she said. For more information about the curriculum,