EdCaN – the National Cancer Nursing Education Project – started in 2005 in recognition of the need for people diagnosed with cancer to receive specialised cancer care. EdCaN is being managed by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, in association with other Australian cancer care institutions, universities and professional associations.
The project has provided a way forward for developing the cancer nursing workforce in Australia, through the establishment of a professional development framework and a set of capabilities expected of nurses working in cancer control. It has also supported the development of teaching and learning resources to help nurses acquire these capabilities.
Some components of these resources are also likely to be of significant value to other health professionals who work with people affected by cancer. Since mid-2007, EdCaN’s scope has been expanded to explore ways to support cancer education for allied health and Aboriginal health workers, who play a key role in cancer care delivery. The framework and resources have been designed to be flexible enough that they can be made available as common curriculum content at an undergraduate level for a variety of health professional training courses. The adaptability of the materials is in part a recognition that all health professionals (and not just those specialising in cancer) could benefit from an enhanced understanding of how to approach and care for people affected by cancer.