Evohealth / Connecting Nurses to Nurses
MSCAN & Evohealth report

Connecting Nurses to Nurses

A model for best practice care of skin cancer in Australia

With our proximity to the equator, high proportion of fair skinned people and enjoyment of the great outdoors, exposure to harmful UV rays is a daily risk for many Australians. It is little surprise then that Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with more than two in three people receiving a skin cancer diagnosis before the age of 70.

Despite making substantial gains in skin cancer prevention through sun protection campaigns, the incidence of skin cancer in Australia continues to rise –forecast to grow by 40 per cent in the next 10 years.

Our healthcare system needs to be prepared to support skin cancer patients throughout their journey – from early detection and diagnosis to treatment, survivorship and, in some cases, palliation.

The essential role of specialist skin cancer nurses

Evidence shows that one of the best models to improve health outcomes and reduce avoidable skin cancer deaths is to provide targeted and ongoing support for patients throughout their skin cancer journey.

At the front line of patient care, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Nurses (MSCNs) can make a difference to patients’ experience of support and care. With their specialist knowledge of skin cancer treatments and years of experience supporting patients, MSCNs provide essential psychological support, clinical support, and patient education.

Yet there remains a critical shortage of MSCNs in Australia, with only 12 specialist nurses nationwide to support over 400,000 patients.

Connecting Nurses to Nurses recommends a national nurse-to-nurse model for skin cancer care.

The expected benefits of a N2N model include

  • Better patient access to specialist skin cancer care and support for more patients
  • Greater support for patients to process a diagnosis and navigate treatment options
  • Better patient access during treatment as well as post-treatment support to manage survivorship or palliation
  • Improved nurse engagement, wellbeing, and professional development opportunities (particularly in regional and rural Australia)
  • A pathway towards more specialist MSCNs across Australia
A N2N model presents an enormous opportunity to improve patient experience and expand and nurture the critical nursing workforce in Australia. It will create a defined career pathway and scope for MSCN’s, increase access to speciality trained nurses and result in better patient outcomes and reduced burden on the health system.
Connecting Nurses to Nurses provides a high-level design for a national N2N model for skin cancer care and explores the potential benefits of such a model for patients, nurses, and the broader healthcare system.
Renae Beardmore

Managing Director, Evohealth

Claire MacNamara

Senior Advisor, Evohealth

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