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Evaluation Goal #3

Evaluation Goal #3: Advancing nursing excellence and improving quality of care

The goal of the Institute is to develop de Souza Nurses in order to raise awareness, recognize oncology nursing excellence, and ultimately improve the quality of care for cancer patients across the province.  The designation is organized to be relevant to all nurses working along the continuum of cancer care from the generalists to specialists.  Further information on de Souza Nurse designation is available (clink link to de Souza Nurse designation).

This new designation system symbolizes excellence in oncology nursing and once implemented, will be recognized by nurses, employers, cancer patients and their families, policy makers and the public.  The de Souza Nurse designation program was presented to the 2010 CANO conference and the 2011 Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Conference.

For nurses who are in graduate school, a pilot project with the University of Windsor has been developed to launch a graduate diploma program in oncology nursing in 2011/2012 academic year. This partnership builds on the successful delivery of de Souza Institute’s courses, and the popular graduate education at the University of Windsor and will provide opportunity for graduate level nurses to pursue specialization to address the complex and unique issues in oncology/ hospice and palliative care.  The graduate diploma program in oncology is expected to accept enrolment soon in 2011/ 2012 academic year at the University of Windsor.

Examples included in this evaluation component are:

1. de Souza Unit Pilot Project 

A pilot project is currently taking place to evaluate the impact of a nursing educational intervention in oncology nursing practice, nursing skills and competencies, health services systems performance, and most importantly on patient care outcomes.

This project introduces an intensive educational intervention to nurses in two cancer inpatient units at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. The intervention consists of a standardized comprehensive set of de Souza curriculum tailored to oncology specialized nurses, and on the job training and mentorship for nurses to apply their learned knowledge and skills in practice.  Nurses who successfully complete the intervention will receive a de Souza Nurse designation.  A subsequent follow up evaluation will be used in December 2011 to assess the impact of having de Souza nurse on the unit, their job satisfaction, quality of care, patient and system outcome over time. Data will include qualitative interviews with managers, nurses, other providers and patients and families. Currently, quantitative measures such as chart audits and patient satisfaction measure are being collected each month.  A trend analysis will be conducted to combine the two participating units at the end of the pilot study and plot the outcome measures over time to identify the timing of “distinct change” due to intervention.

The pilot study will extend the knowledge base of nursing-sensitive outcome measures.  It will support further rigorous examination on the impact of de Souza initiatives on patient, system and nurse outcomes in varying geographic locations, in specialized cancer centres or cancer care in general hospital settings.  The project has received UHN REB approval and the recruitment is targeting a 100% participation rate among nurses on both units. The pilot project was presented to the 2011 Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Conference.

2. Oncology Nursing Mentorship Program

Since September 2008, the de Souza Institute has partnered with the existing CCO / McMaster University Oncology APN Interprofessional Mentorship Program to expand this program for all oncology nurses in Ontario.

  • Increase access to oncology nursing role development supports across Ontario through implementation of an e-based mentorship program.
  • Recruit high quality mentors with expertise relevant to generalist, specialized and advanced nursing practice to address the full scope of identified role development needs for novice and experienced oncology nurses.
  • Promote the development of effective mentorship skills through mentee/mentor education.
  • Match a minimum of 150 oncology nurse mentees (generalists, specialized and advanced practice) with mentors over the 5-year funding period.
  • Promote the ongoing development of sustained and effective distance mentorship relationships through provision of e-based resources and supports relevant to each stage of the mentoring process.
  • Promote effective mentoring through improved mentor/mentee understanding of oncology nursing roles.
  • Promote oncology nurse participation in the program through the education of oncology nurses, role supervisors and cancer care administrators regarding the benefits of mentorship for improving the development and implementation of oncology nursing roles.
The Mentorship program has been presented to the 16th ICCN Annual Conference in Atlanta and the 22nd CANO Annual Conference in Edmonton in 2010.

As of April 2013, the Mentorship program officially transitioned fully to the de Souza Institute.  This move ensures the long-term sustainability of the program. Additional information about the current program offerings can be found on our Mentorship pages.