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The Role of Licensed Nursing Personnel in Radiation Oncology Part B: Integrating the Ambulatory Care Nursing Conceptual Framework

Giselle J. Moore-Higgs
Deborah Watkins-Bruner
Laura Balmer
Janice Johnson-Doneski
Paulette Komarny
Beatrice Mautner
Karima Velji
ONF 2003, 30(1), 59-64 DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.59-64

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the professional opportunities for licensed nursing personnel in radiation oncology within the conceptual framework developed for ambulatory care nurses by the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN).

Data Sources: Published articles and books.

Data Synthesis: Using AAACN's framework, the researchers identified three roles that are part of every ambulatory care nurse's practice and can be readily customized to radiation oncology: an organizational/ systems role, a professional role, and a clinical nursing role. Incorporating the described framework into a radiation oncology nurse's job description can lead to maximizing the use of the professional staff member within the radiation oncology department. This level of professional utilization and validation of the radiation oncology nurse will lead not only to improved patient outcomes but also to greater professional satisfaction, resulting in improved retention.

Conclusions: The complexity of oncology therapies demands expert oncology nurses. This clearly is recognized in medical oncology, and patients with cancer who are being treated with radiation are no less important. To optimize patient care and therapeutic outcomes, the integration of nursing in all aspects of the radiation treatment continuum is essential.

Implications for Nursing: Radiation oncology nursing is an evolving subspecialty. Nurses can use the information in this article to evaluate their current roles and individual potential for further professional growth.

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