Improved patient care is at the heart of a project designed to train cancer health professionals to provide cancer education to their peers. Funded by Health Canada, with Cancer Care Nova Scotia as the project lead, Partners for Interprofessional Cancer Education has trained one health professional from South Shore Health as a facilitator. The training provides expertise in interprofessional learning – a greater appreciation of each others’ values, knowledge and abilities; collaborative, patient-centred practice and cultural sensitivity and safety for First Nations communities. This facilitator will educate health professionals in their district. Together with 37 other facilitators from across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, they will reach more than 1,100 community-based health professionals over the next year. “Canada’s government commends Cancer Care Nova Scotia and itspartners for their leadership in this project. By April 2008, more than 1,000 Nova Scotian health professionals will be better trained to help cancer patients,” said Tony Clement, federal Minister of Health. “The introduction of interprofessional education across Nova Scotia will benefit not only the patients who will receive unprecedented treatment and support, but also the teams of professionals who work in cancer care.” “With the expertise and commitment of districts, and the strength of our other partners, we are extending the value and reach of Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s original interprofessional education program, the interprofessional core curriculum,” said Theresa Marie Underhill, chief operating officer, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “Through this project, we are enhancing it, extending the training of health professionals and providing the necessary supports for them to deliver the interprofessional core curriculum to others.” “Health-care providers are excited about the opportunity to broaden and enhance their knowledge, skills and understanding through this initiative. We are pleased to be working with our partners to provide education that will positively impact the lives of hundreds of cancer patients in our District,” said South Shore Health’s CEO Kevin McNamara. Health professionals with an expertise in cancer or palliative care were recruited to participate in the training. Medical and radiation oncologists, palliative care physicians and nurses, social workers, pharmacists, nursing students from St. Francis Xavier University and First Nations representatives working in health were among those trained. “Cancer Care Nova Scotia and its partners have produced an extraordinary education resource,” said Dr. David Abriel, physician on South Shore Health’s palliative care team, who was recently trained as an interprofessional facilitator. “In addition, the recent workshops have provided training not only in the presentation of content, but also in facilitating healthprofessionals who are establishing a new patient-centred and morecollaborative model of care.” The Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre, in collaboration with other partners, implemented the first phase of the project, the development of the facilitator training program. First Nations consultants worked with the Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre to ensure cultural safety and sensitivity was woven throughout the training program. The centre also revised the case studies included in Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s interprofessional core curriculum, which facilitators will be delivering. Beginning in April, facilitators will deliver the core curriculumprogram to community based health professionals in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. The curriculum has 10 modules including, pain and symptom management, treatment and side effects. By April 2008, 1,100 health professionals will have a better knowledge in these areas as well as an improved understanding and appreciation of the expertise of their team members and the community resources available to patients and families. The curriculum will also be included in the undergraduate nursing program at St. Francis Xavier University. As part of the project, Cancer Care Nova Scotia will help facilitators develop a community of practice to build interprofessional knowledge and expertise through better interaction. An evaluation, led by Dalhousie Continuing Medical Education, for both facilitators and participants will cover both intended and self reported changes in practice. Possible ways for evaluating the project from the patient perspective are also being discussed. In addition to Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Partners for Interprofessional Cancer Education includes: district health authorities, the IWK Health Centre, the Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre, Dalhousie University Continuing Medical Education, Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy, Division of Continuing Pharmacy Education, the Union of NovaScotia Indians, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, St. Francis Xavier School of Nursing, Seniors’ Secretariat and Prince Edward Island Department of Health. Cancer Care Nova Scotia is a program of the Department of Health,created to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals, families, and the health care system through prevention, screening, education and research.
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