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Cancer care coordinators

On Wednesday 11 September, Senior Lecturer in Nursing Dr Nasreena Waheed will present her paper, ‘Implementing Cancer Care Coordinator Role in a Tertiary Hospital in Metropolitan Adelaide, SA: A Case Study’ as part of the College of Nursing and midwifery research seminar series.

The study sought to understand the experience of cancer care coordinators in implementing their role in a major tertiary teaching hospital. The primary aim was to understand the experience of care coordinators and identify the enablers and barriers to implementing care.

Dr Nasreena Waheed
Dr Nasreena Waheed

In Australia, an estimated 396 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every day. As cancer care is provided by many specialties, cancer care coordination is integral to effective treatment. However, despite its identification as a priority to improve national cancer policies and services in Australia, a consensus on the definition of cancer care coordination has yet to be reached.

Four cancer care coordinators participated in the study, each of whom had an average of 23 years’ experience in the health sector. Two major themes arose from the thematic analysis – barriers and facilitators. Under these two themes, subthemes emerged:



  • Understanding cancer care coordination Varied roles and experiences – lack of definition of scope of practice.
  • Expectations of other disciplines – having to introduce and explain role, not seen as an expert.
  • Written communication between services – sub-optimal communications especially public v private sector services.

Facilitators (enablers)

  • Knowledge of the services available – cancer care coordinators have excellent knowledge of the systems and services they are working with.
  • Growing number of cancer care coordinators – coordinators are becoming an important professional support network.
  • Good communication and good relationships – to provide the best possible support, cancer care coordinator need to be excellent communicators, building strong support from clinicians and the services they need to utilise.

To address the barriers identified in this study, workforce and expertise characteristics, systems, tools and resources must be considered. The research highlighted the importance of building a collaborative relationship between all the health care professionals involved in the provision of cancer care. It also highlighted the need for a data infrastructure, which validates and measures performance indicators and clinical outcomes, and makes this data accessible to clinicians in a rapid feedback cycle.

CDU staff and students can access the presentation by Dr Waheed via Zoom on Wednesday 18 September, 12:30pm ACST [Darwin time]