Early Career Nurses Network

The Co-Chairs of the ECN Network are Bethany Maynard, Michaela Popelkova and Nikolina Dodlek.

ECN Network members:

The EONS Early Career Cancer Nurses Network currently consists of the following persons:

  • Nikolina Dodlek, Croatia
  • Michaela Popelková, Czech Republic
  • Bethany Maynard, UK
  • Constance Rowell, UK
  • Dimitrios Protogiros, Greece
  • Selma Islamcevic, Croatia
  • Irati Rodriguez Matesanz, Spain
  • Stavroula Chante, UK
  • Gerard Rodriguez Abenoza, Spain
  • Helena McCallig, Ireland
  • Tihana Gaspert, Croatia
  • Behis Belkis Calışkan, Turkey
  • Hazal Ozdemir Koyu, Turkey
  • Sara Medici, Italy
  • Anamaria Perković, Croatia
  • Remziye Semerci, Turkey
  • Maria Elena Campillejo Guttierez, Spain
  • Salome Patsatia, Georgia
  • Ann Sophie Verbeke, Belgium
  • Giannis Polychronis, Cyprus

YCN Study – Barriers faced by young cancer nurses in their profession

In this video, Amanda Drury, EONS Board Member and chair of the Young Cancer Nurses Network, discusses an important study sponsored by EONS, investigating young cancer nurses and the barriers that are presented to them in their profession.

This issue is ever more important due to the context of an aging workforce and the fact the healthcare will lose an older generation of nurses, meaning that the young cancer nurses need to be motivated to stay in the profession. The study highlights the need for protected time, financial support to engage in education, formal mentorship with how they engage with career development opportunities, and finally, being empowered to take on leadership roles.

Our first YCN EONS Board Member – Sara Parreira

Sara Parreira

Sara Torcato Parreira, from Portugal, was the first YCN to take up this role on the EONS Board.

As an ambassador for this community, she did outstanding work to identify issues of importance to YCNs, to propose solutions and set up a network of European YCN peers. Her groundbreaking contribution was recognised with an award at EONS12.

A Europe-wide YCN community


The first EONS YCN event organised by the United Kingdom Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) took place in London, to provide an opportunity for networking and learning.

The main focus was the development of YCNs as speciality nurses, as well as the progression of cancer services and treatments in the UK. Subjects included the challenges for YCNs in the UK, research in action, developments in cancer care and the integration of palliative care. The feedback was incredibly positive and the aim is to run workshops once or twice a year in different locations to optimise access. A YCN Facebook page was set up following the event for support, discussion and networking, and is open to all.

Bethany Maynard is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in oncology at the University of Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

She has recently taken on the role of representing UKONS Young Cancer Nurses (YCN) in England on the EONS Young Cancer Nurses Group.

Bethany Maynard

Portugal – The first Portuguese Young Cancer Nurses Workshop

Skype: Marta Bello, Sara Torcato Parreira, Sara Costa, Maria Dias

Due to a lack of young nurses entering the profession, the Portuguese national society created this event to find what the challenges, needs and motivations are for YCNs and in what way the national society can support them.

It was agreed that Portuguese YCNs are unmotivated, not only because of the economic crisis (there is no career progression and the salaries were reduced), but also due to the following key issues:

  • Although they can have a degree in it, cancer nursing is not recognised as a specialisation (by the Portuguese Government);
  • They can only get their degree as an oncology nurse specialist in Lisbon (so it’s very difficult for someone working in another city);
  • You can have your degree as a specialist nurse but you will earn the same as a general one (no career progression);

  • YCNs keep changing location (as there is shortage of nurses they can easily spend a few months in one place and suddenly get transferred to another);
  • In some situations, senior staff aren’t able to motivate them and older nurses can feel reluctant about their proactivity;
  • In most cases, they have to spend their own time and money to study or to go to conferences.

Several interventions were proposed, which may be a useful reference for other YCN groups:

  • To create YCN ambassadors so that they can reach the hospitals where there are no members and advertise the Portuguese national society;
  • To have one YCN at each working group;
  • To have a grant for one YCN to attend the national Congress;
  • To have a website for YCNs, so they know where to search for reliable information (and free e-learning);
  • To create a free e-learning (in Portuguese) called “Cancer Basics”;
  • To create a survey for all the Portuguese YCNs;
  • To have a session dedicated to YCNs in the national Congress.
Some participants from our first November 2015 workshop. Left-right: Kristina Karp (Estonia), Sara Parreira (Portugal), Sgourou Stavroula (Greece) and Chara Kalogirou (Cyprus). Photo credit: Stevi Stavroula.

Read the views of two workshop participants

YCNSara Kopie
Sara Torcato Parreira, Portugal
Nurse at an Oncology Day Unit
Most young cancer nurses (YCN) are truly motivated to develop their professional skills and competencies and to learn the best way to work in a team and to care for patients. This motivation is due to the desire they have to be a better nurse, for themselves, for colleagues and for patients.
YCNStevi Kopie
Stavroula (Stevi), Greece
Nurse in an Oncology Department
YCNs face many challenges in their everyday lives. There are many expectations and requirements but at the same time they may have not the appropriate experience. Some of them do not have enough education for a such specialised role and also they may have not chosen to work in a such complicated department as the Oncology Department.

Early Career Nurses Area