EONS President visits cancer nursing communities

During the autumn 2023, Virpi Sulosaari, the President of EONS, has been actively participating in EONS national society conferences and other events. She said, “It has been a great pleasure to meet the local national society members, but also to have the opportunity of meeting cancer nurses from different countries.”

In Iceland, Virpi met local university hospital and cancer organisation representatives and got to know better the state of cancer nursing and cancer care in Iceland. According to the EONS Cancer Nursing Index, Iceland has shown significant improvement in cancer nursing. This demonstrates well how the hard work put in on advocacy and collaboration can have a real impact on the state of cancer nursing. Some of the challenges are very similar to those in other countries, such as investing in further development of national cancer control plans. During her visit, the local newspaper paid special attention to the importance of cancer nursing.

Next, Virpi travelled to Vaasa, Finland, to speak to the national conference of the Finnish Oncology Nursing Society. This year, many of the presentations were on workforce issues. Participants had opportunities to learn and discuss important topics around wellbeing at work, and also on contemporary topics for clinical practice. In her presentation, Virpi addressed the question of where the Finnish cancer nurses are heading, from the perspective of European developments in oncology.

Virpi travelled direct from Vaasa to Rome, Italy, to speak at the AIOM conference, a nursing session organised by an EONS national society (Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica-Section Nursing Working group). The session, Nursing Research and Clinical Research Session, with a focus on the levels of nurse involvement in clinical research, from support roles to researcher roles, was chaired by the president of the other Italian national society member of EONS (Associazione Italiana Infermieri di Area Oncologia, AIIAO), Rosario Caruso. This demonstrated a nice collaboration between the two societies. The session highlighted different perspectives on cancer nursing research. To develop and advance cancer nursing, we need evidence and quality cancer nursing research. EONS Research Working Group has recently published a Research Policy and great work is ongoing to identify cancer nursing research priorities. More on this work is on our website www.cancernurse.eu.
There were also other interesting sessions in the cancer nursing track: one of areas in need of development in most of the European countries, is collaboration between the specialist and primary or community care setting. It is important to recognise the need for capacity building in the primary and community care setting to ensure the continuity of care outside specialist cancer services. We need nurses who have expertise in cancer care outside of these special units.

From left to right in the photo: Gennaro Rocco, the founder of the first nursing scholarship and excellence center in Italy (called CECRI), who played a prominent role in advancing the nursing profession in Italy and its academization; Rosario Caruso, scholar and president of the Association of Oncology Nurses (AIIAO); President EONS Virpi Sulosaari; Lucia Cadorin, a nurse researcher at CRO Aviano; and Cristina Mazzega Fabbro, a member of the board of the AIOM Nursing Working Group.

The last visit Virpi made this autumn was to Ankara, Turkey. Virpi was invited to speak about current challenges in oncology and on the very contemporary topic of sustainability in cancer care. This means recognising the environmental impact of cancer care, but also ensuring efficiency in care delivery. This cannot and should not be done without the input of patient advocates as we need to understand what is important and valuable for the people we care for. Two of the EONS Working Group members, Paz Fernandez-Ortega (Research Working Group) and Celia Diez de los Rios (Education Working Group) participated as invited speakers at the conference.

From the left— Assistant Prof. Betülay KILIÇ, Prof. Dr. Fatma İlknur ÇINAR,  President of EONS Virpi Sulosaari, Research Assistant Dr. Eda UNAL, Research Assistant Zuhal CANDAN 

*Virpi also provided a recorded presentation for the International Brno Oncology Days – I-BOD, Czech Republic, in November 2-3. Earlier this year, Virpi also visited Ireland.