By 2035, it’s expected that 22 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed annually around the world. The global burden of cancer care and treatment is something that affects all nations and cultures. Through collaboration, understanding, and a dedication to forging new relationships, oncology professionals from around the world come together to fight for their patients and colleagues each on February 4 for World Cancer Day.
ONS member, Jeannine Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, FAAN, is no stranger to international oncology work. In 2015 and 2016, she traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Oman to initiate discussions with local practitioners about palliative and end-of-life care in Middle East countries. As part of a partnership between ONS and the Middle East Cancer Consortium (MECC), Brant and her colleagues learned the challenges facing patients with cancer and offered new educational resources to oncology professionals in the area.
Through her experience with MECC, Brant is now working with the Omani Cancer Association (OCA), based out of Muscat, Oman. “We have a training program that’s taught more than 200 nurses in foundational and advanced courses on palliative care, leadership, and research,” Brant said. “Our courses are unique because they truly encourage capacity building. We get into what the challenges are for day-to-day work, and they bring forward their issues. Through that, we see their own ideas start to emerge and be shared amongst the group. They’re able to learn from each other.”
In 2017, Brant traveled back to the Middle East with the OCA for a brand-new program. With a smaller group in tow, she and her colleagues helped develop and conduct a train-the-trainer course that aims to equip local nurse leaders with the tools and resources needed to facilitate their own educational discussions.
“We have been working with six Omani nurse leaders who have been helping us facilitate groups. With those leaders and a few other participants, we’ll have two days of train-the-trainer education,” Brant said. “We’re teaching them how to teach new material, how to weave case studies in, how to facilitate a group and help the participants take ownership.”
Through the remaining days of the conference, the newly trained nurse leaders taught the course to an entirely new group of 180 local nurse participants. Brant and her colleagues have prepared the educational materials and presentation notes and were on site to support the process, but the international nurse leaders facilitated breakout sessions to the attendees.
“We’re there to support them and cheer them on,” Brant said. The process provides local nurses with the knowledge and efficacy to generate new discussions and education within their practices.
Brant and her colleagues are planning future trips to the Middle East and Africa, including a potential visit to Tanzania, to replicate the program. She encouraged nurses everywhere to learn more about international oncology work and can be done to support the fight against cancer in a global way.
“Cancer is a condition of being human, it’s a disease that can really afflict any one of us,” Brant said. “But I think what we find, especially when we consider things like World Cancer Day, is that we have far more similarities than we have differences—especially as human beings and oncology professionals.”