Written by Dr. Fay Strohschein, SIOG NAH Governance group member
This year, the Joint SIOG NAH/CANO/EONS session at the SIOG Annual Conference, chaired and organized by Dr. Martine Puts, focused on educating, empowering, and enacting change. Four speakers provided insight into geriatric oncology educational initiatives for nurses
Dr. Sincere McMillan, a nurse practitioner in the Geriatric Medicine Department at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in the United States, shared her work educating advance practice providers (APP), including nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Referring to their recent study demonstrating that geriatric co-management was associated with 57% lower risk of 90 day mortality after cancer surgery,1 Dr. McMillan highlighted the need to improve these competencies among APP, particularly considering the anticipated lack of geriatricians. To inform APP educational initiatives, they conducted a learning needs survey, assessed feasibility of an APP geriatric oncology education program at MSKCC, and developed a curriculum. They have developed an APP student rotation in inpatient/outpatient geriatric oncology, a Geriatric Oncology Fellowship, and a APP geriatric oncology symposium.
Ms. Soo Jung Kim, also a nurse practitioner in the Geriatrics Service of MSKCC in the United States presented the development of a biennial Geriatric Oncology course for nurses, which began in 2009. This one-day course focuses on topics relevant to the needs of older cancer patients, including health promotion, physiological changes with aging, late effects after cancer treatment, exercise, medication management, cognitive impairment, ethical considerations, and advanced care planning, taught by an interprofessional team. The workshop includes engagement in a complex case to learn comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). Using pre, post, and three-month follow-up evaluations, course attendees demonstrated significant increases in knowledge and behaviour change. In 2021, the course changed to a virtual format, providing the opportunity for international attendees.