The growth and development of oncology nursing in Australia: the past, present and the future

Raymond Javan Chan, Catherine Paterson, Patsy Yates, Reegan Knowles, Natalie Bradford

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In Australia, there will be approximately 162,000 new cases of cancer diagnosis in 2022 (1). These figures equate to an average of over 440 Australians being diagnosed daily, of which many will be cared for by cancer nurses over multiple occasions across their cancer treatment trajectory and recovery. It is of critical importance that cancer care and health system leaders understand and reflect on the evolution and future development of the cancer nursing workforce to ensure quality cancer care now and in the future. Here, we provide an overview of cancer nursing in Australia, including a brief historical account of the evolution of cancer nursing, highlighting capacity and capabilities of nurses to inform future development of this important workforce. Of note, although this article highlights a more general focus on oncology nursing, the primary content also encompasses palliative nursing. As we know, palliative nursing focuses on the active and holistic healthcare of patients whose illnesses do not respond to curative therapies, especially those with end-stage cancers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-991
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Palliative Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date18 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2023


  • Cancer nursing
  • oncology nursing
  • Australia


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