Update: September 2023 de Souza Chemotherapy Competency Maintenance Course – Frequently Asked Questions

September 6, 2023

Cancer Care Ontario released Provincial Position Statements for Nursing Practice in systemic treatment administration in 2021. The Systemic Cancer Treatment Administration Standards provide additional description of the education and training requirements.

An initial competency and certification education program that includes:

  • theoretical learning with evaluation, and
  • supervised clinical practice with evaluation.

Maintenance of competence program that includes:

  • self-reflection and professional development, and
  • maintenance of knowledge and skill.


What are the course offerings from de Souza Institute on Systemic Cancer Treatment Administration? 

The Institute offers two online and highly interactive courses that support the provincial standards in chemotherapy and biotherapy administration and safety: 

  • the Provincial Standardized Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course (PSCB) for initial competency development, and  
  • the Chemotherapy Competency Maintenance Course (CCMC).   

The above two courses are updated regularly to reflect the latest national and provincial standards, and are linked to the CCO Drug Formulary and monographs. 

The unique experience for students is augmented by the integration of case studies, workshops, and opportunities for clinically relevant and practice-based knowledge application. 


What is the CCMC renewal timeline?

In coordination with Cancer Care Ontario, de Souza Institute will use the following criteria:

  • All renewals will be on a 24-month cycle. Nurses who have completed the PSCB or CCMC will need to successfully complete the next CCMC course by the 24-month expiry date.  For example, because the CCMC is 8 week long in duration, nurses who completed the PSCB/CCMC course on August 1, 2021 will need to register before June 1, 2023 in order to complete the course by August 1, 2023 (the latest).
  • Nurses have the option of taking CCMC earlier than the 24 month renewal timeline. For example, if they are planning for an upcoming maternity leave, they can take CCMC at 12 month post their last completion. In another example, nurses who administer systemic therapy occasionally may chose to take the CCMC course early.  If they are not successful in the exam, in some cases they still have the time to repeat the course before their renewal due date.


Do nurses get reminders for their renewal course timeline?  

Nurses get four courtesy email reminders prior to the last possible course offering to meet the Chemotherapy Competency Maintenance Course requirement timeline.  The four reminders are: 12 months, 16 months, 18 months and 20 months from the end of the previous PSCB or CCMC course. For this reason it is important to keep your de Souza account profile up to date so you will not miss these courtesy reminders. For nurses who plan to go on maternity leave, it is recommended to use an email address that they will have access to, when not at work.


What happens if nurses fail to complete the renewal course within the timeline? 

Nurses whose CCMC renewal lapses will need to repeat the Provincial Standardized Chemotherapy and Biotherapy (PSCB) Course.  


If a nurse goes on Maternity Leave/Sick Leave, would the nurse get an extension for the renewal course? 

Please contact a de Souza Institute educator prior to the planned maternity leave for advice.  We recommend that you inform the Institute of your planned maternity leave 3-4 months in advance so that we could help you choose an option that works best for you.  A medical note or a letter from HR will be required.  Please visit de Souza Institute’s Cancellation, Incomplete or No Show Policy.   


If a nurse takes a Systemic Cancer Treatment Administration course from another organization, would it be recognized by de Souza Institute? 

Please contact de Souza Institute for course equivalency assessment.    


How are managers/educators informed whether a nurse has completed PSCB/CCMC?   

Currently, when nurses complete either PSCB or CCMC, their course outcome is sent to their email on file, copied to their respective manager.

In addition to the above, managers can request a secure and consolidated document outlining the completion status of all the nurses on their team they approved for PSCB or CCMC to support CCO’s new reporting process.

Since managers play a critical role in supporting their nurses’ chemotherapy and biotherapy competencies, and given CCO’s new reporting requirement, managers’ contact information and approval for their staff’s participation in PSCB and CCMC is a pre-requisite for a nurse’s registration.