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Strengthen Oncology Nursing to Improve the Quality of Cancer Management in Indonesia

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Jakarta IO – The burden of cancer continues to increase. WHO’s latest publication “Setting Priorities, Investing Wisely & Providing Care for All” states that one in six deaths in the world is caused by cancer. Cancer cases in 2018 reached 18.1 million and will increase to 29.4 million in 2040. Meanwhile, the death rate in lower-middle-income countries is expected to remain high, far from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target. 

The 2020 Indonesian Oncology Nurses Association (HIMPONI) survey regarding the education level of nurses in oncology service units shows that 67% have a diploma education, while 31% and only 2% have bachelor and master degree. Indonesia does not yet have an oncology nurse specialist. The responsibility of the oncology nurse specialist is to provide quality nursing services to cancer patients and their families following society’s demands. That the basis for the importance of the existence of the Oncology Nursing Specialist.

As explained by Dr. Dewi Gayatri, S.Kp., M.Kes., Head of Oncology Nursing SpecialistStudy Program, the background to this partnership is that an inadequate nurse-patient ratio contributes to the low quality of patient care, and causes poor outcomes. “We hope this partnership can improve the quality of care standards and lead to better cancer care outcomes. In the future, we hope that professional oncology nurses can be recognized as strategic partners for oncologists in patient care. This can be achieved by strengthening the onboarding process for Oncology Nursing Specialists upon graduation, one of which is through a collaborative care program prepared by nurses and partners at the hospitals where they work,” she said in the media briefing “ Oncology Nursing in Indonesia: How it is Evolving and What does the Future Hold” held in Depok, West Java, Wednesday (6/12/2023).

The Director of Health Provision Personnel Ministry of Health, Hj. Oos Fatimah Rosyati, M.Kes, welcomed the development of the partnership. “Accelerating the fulfilment of the need for health workers in Indonesia requires the involvement of all parties. We appreciate and support the efforts made by Roche, Faculty of Nursing Universitas Indonesia (FIK-UI), Dharmais Hospital, and HIMPONI to strengthen the oncology nursing workforce, especially as currently cancer is one of the Government’s priorities,” she said.

Welcoming the development of this program, dr. Ait-Allah Mejri, President Director of Roche Indonesia said, “We are pleased that the partnership initiated by Roche with its work partners is starting to bear fruit, marked by the first graduation of the oncology nursing specialist scholarship recipients. This achievement shows the strong commitment of all partners to contribute to reducing the burden of cancer and improving cancer management outcomes.”

Meanwhile, the Dean of FIK-UI, dr. Agus Setiawan, S.Kp., M.N., D.N, said, “Oncology nursing specialist is a new professional level in Indonesia. It is very important to build an ecosystem that supports the development of these specialists to provide opportunities for apply their expertise. Also there must be regulations that support professional development.”

At the same occasion, dr. R. Soeko W. Nindito D., MARS, President Director of Dharmais Hospital said, “A standard is needed for hospitals that provide cancer services through infrastructure improvements and quality human resources. Presenting an Oncology Nursing Specialist program can become a strategic partner in cancer services.”

The collaboration to development oncology nurses also received a positive response, marked by the opening of the Oncology Nursing Specialist Program at Gadjah Mada University (UGM). Deputy Dean for Academic and Student Affairs of UGM Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing (FKKMK), dr. Ahmad Hamim Sadewa, Ph.D, explained, “FKKMK UGM fully supports the Ministry of Health’s strategic plan to accelerate the growth of oncology nurses in Indonesia. We hope to graduate more qualified nurses to support cancer management in here.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Kemala Rita Wahidi, SKp., Sp.Kep.Onk., ETN., MARS., FISQua, Head of the Education & Training Division HIMPONI explained, “The professional organizations have responsibility to improve the quality of oncology nurses. Therefore, support from all parties is needed for Oncology Nursing Specialists to be able to synergize with other oncologist partners in providing cancer care so that it can improve the quality of services for cancer patients.”

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Dr. dr. Cosphiadi Irawan, Sp.PD, KHOM, FINASIM, Head of the Indonesian Oncology Association (POI), welcomed the development of this program positively. “I proudly welcome the presence of this Oncology Nursing Specialist, so that cancer management can be better. The collaboration between oncology doctors and nurses can become a comprehensive and inseparable service package,” he said.

The vision of this partnership is to have at least one oncology nurse specialist in each hospital that provides cancer services. To achieve this, strategic steps are needed that involve various parties, starting from developing the role of specialist nurses in hospitals and professional standards, developing competencies through continuous education and training, and developing supporting infrastructure and policies that become a reference for professional development. This comprehensive step will enable oncology nurse specialists to make their best contribution to improving the quality of cancer management outcomes in Indonesia. (*)

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