Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Offers Continuing Education Opportunities for Oncology Nurses

TON - February 2019, Vol 12, No 1

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, in collaboration with RWJBarnabas Health, offers patients many advanced cancer treatment options, including immunotherapy, precision medicine, preventive services, and education. In 2018, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey earned accreditation as a Provider of Continuing Nursing Education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which recognizes high-quality continuing nursing education, interprofessional continuing education, transition to practice programs, and skills-based competency programs.

In this issue of The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON), we feature an interview with Renee Kurz, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, AOCNP, Associate Director, Statewide Research, and Patient and Nursing Education, Rutgers Cancer Institute, in which she discusses the importance of this accreditation, what it means for oncology nurses at the facility, and its impact on patient care.

TON: Can you describe the importance of the ANCC accreditation and what is involved in receiving it?

Dr Kurz: ANCC accreditation distinguishes worldwide organizations that demonstrate quality and excellence in the curriculum design and delivery of continuing nursing education (CNE). Accredited organizations meet comprehensive, evidence-based criteria to ensure CNE activities are effectively planned, implemented, and evaluated.

TON: How does the Rutgers Cancer Institute plan its educational offerings?

Dr Kurz: We offer a variety of topics based on staff requests and new cancer treatment modalities. Courses are offered in several formats (eg, in person, online, webinars) to ensure nurses have the opportunity to receive quality oncology education following the stringent guidelines of the ANCC while still managing their busy schedules.

TON: Can you tell us how the nurses and patients at the Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health have benefited from this accreditation?

Dr Kurz: Nurses served by our programs have gained access to the highest caliber of oncology education to meet certification or licensure requirements. In 2017, 16 CNE courses were offered, and in 2018, we increased our oncology content to 32 courses, which included live and web-enabled. Some of these courses offered by the Rutgers Cancer Institute were the Oncology Nursing Certification Review as well as the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner review course, which is designed to prepare oncology nurses and advanced practice nurses to pass the national Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) examination and the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practicioner (AOCNP) examination.

Becoming certified signifies the attainment of advanced knowledge of cancer care. Our 2-day course for the OCN and the 3-day course for the AOCNP are the only ones of their kind offered in New Jersey. This year, we are adding a 2-day Clinical Research Coordinator Boot Camp designed to train clinical research nurses and coordinators in the critical responsibilities of working with patients on oncology clinical trials.

The benefit of this accreditation for patients is the assurance that their care is being provided by nurses who have demonstrated current, evidence-based knowledge in the spectrum of cancer care. In essence, oncology nurses and clinical trial staff having access to continuing education through an accredited program contributes to improved healthcare out­comes ensuring that oncology nurses at Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJ­Barnabas Health are educated in the most up-to-date practices.

TON: What is the impact of this accreditation beyond Rutgers Cancer Institute?

Dr Kurz: Rutgers Cancer Institute is New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive care center. As such, nursing education courses offered at the institute are available to nurses throughout New Jersey, including all nurses within our partner, RWJBarnabas Health. ANCC designation enables the educational programs offered to nurses across the state to mirror the world-class treatment and services we provide to our patients.

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