The flagship area of the vision of KUTRRH, with the state-of-the art equipment and highly qualified personnel, is Oncology. This choice is mainly because Cancer is a major public health issue and represents a significant burden of disease globally and in Kenya in particular.
In the past few years, Cancer prevalence in Kenya has continued to rise, posing a widespread staffing problem. Kenya has continued to face rising demand for Oncology personnel, especially nurses where the need is a minimum of 500 nurses, yet there are only a few qualified nurses in the country.
Oncology, the study of cancer, is particularly relevant in Kenya. According to the Journal of Cancer Policy, cancer is the third leading cause of mortality in the country, accounting for 7 per cent of annual deaths.
A 2015 Nation Newsplex review of health data showed that the rate of death from cancer in Kenya is outpacing population growth and may double by 2026.
Oncology Specialised Nursing Training
It is with the foregoing in mind that KUTRRH launched a Specialized Nursing Institute with Oncology Nursing as its flagship course. With the aid of experts in oncology, the Directorate of Training and Capacity Building developed a curriculum within the framework of the Nursing Council of Kenya guidelines.
Its content reflects the future of Oncology nursing education, changing trends in the healthcare system and the expectations of stakeholders. Using a blended learning approach, this programme allows students to explore a range of clinical and theoretical issues. It also fosters the skills necessary to function as team players and clinical resources to peers.
Oncology Nursing is a specialty, whereby nurses care for people who are at risk for developing cancer, patients diagnosed with cancer, patients receiving treatment for cancer, patients in need of supportive and palliative care, serious illness, cancer survivors and their families/ caregivers.
Oncology nursing occurs throughout the lifespan and includes individuals from all ages and cultures along a continuum of care and across service delivery systems. Oncology nursing occurs at primary, secondary and tertiary care levels and includes hospices and homes.
The role of the Oncology Nurse is underpinned by holism and encompasses direct care to patients and families/caregivers in cancer care settings as part of the multidisciplinary team. The role is expanded to include cancer prevention and health promotion in communities, and caring for patients for whom cure is no longer possible and their families/caregivers for improved quality care.
Critical Care Nursing Specialised Nursing Training
Following closely to Oncology is our second course, namely, Critical Care Nursing. This course considers the pathophysiology of complex patient conditions requiring Intensive care, as well as assessment, monitoring and advanced therapeutics. Content at KUTRRH will focus on the care of the patient with neurological, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, haematological and multisystem disorders.
The promotion of evidence-based practice is integral to course delivery and clinical case review. We are focusing on the collaborative multidisciplinary management of the complex intensive care patient and the critical care nurse’s role within the team.
Leadership skills are also developed through workshops to prepare students to take on advanced practice roles in the intensive care unit.
By: Prof. Wangari Mwai – Director Training and Capacity Building