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Acute oncology is now an established specialist role within the oncology nursing workforce. However, the scope of practice and responsibilities attached to the role of “Acute Oncology Nurse” (AON) will vary from organisation to organisation and indeed even within organisations. 

The key aims of optimising patient safety and delivery of high-quality care remain common to all acute oncology specialist nursing roles ensuring:

  • specialist acute oncology skills and knowledge is accessible

  • patients and carers are supported through the urgent care pathway

  • communication with associated healthcare teams and professionals is maintained

When the AON role was first introduced it was seen as a specialist role, supporting the patient, accessing specialist senior oncology opinion /advice, and steering the patient and healthcare professionals through the urgent care journey in a timely fashion, it has developed further in many areas especially in cancer units that have only visiting oncology specialists. Nurses have led the development of acute oncology services and Acute Oncology Nursing is rapidly becoming an advanced practice role. 


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Specialist acute oncology nurse education should be tailored to meet the needs of the individual’s role in delivery, development, and evaluation of acute oncology services. The UKONS Acute Oncology Knowledge and Skills Guidance is a framework that can be used to guide education and training and help to assess and evidence practice. Acute Oncology Nurses specialists may find it helpful look at the levels below and work towards completing the relevant competency framework. 

The knowledge and skills document is also a very relevant tool for managers and those developing and providing clinical education.


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Courses and Education

Guy’s Cancer Academy and King’s College London

Guy’s Cancer Academy and King’s College London are welcoming applications for a new online module for registered health professionals who are required to assess and/or manage the care of patients with an acute oncology indication. This includes staff working in emergency services, acute medicine and community services.

Level 6 and Level 7 30-credit online module

Application deadlines: 4 May 2022 for start date 9 May 2022; 1 Sept 2022 for start date 12 Sept 2022

For more information and the online application portal please visit this link                                                          (added to site 20/4/2022)

   Liverpool University Acute Oncology Course 

This eight-week online course will aim to develop the practitioner’s in-depth knowledge of assessment and management of acute oncological presentations to both general hospitals and specialist cancer units.

Target audience: This 15 credit bearing masters level course is aimed at those with a medical degree, nursing degree, or another primary degree plus two years postgraduate experience in a cancer related discipline.                                                                            (added to site 9/3/2021)

The Royal Marsden School - Principles of Acute Oncology 

This module is designed for all healthcare professionals who look after acute oncology patients, and it is aligned to the Acute Oncology Knowledge and Skills Framework (UKONS 2018). The Acute Oncology patient pathways spans primary, urgent, and acute care setting and with this perspective in mind we explore acute events related to treatment (such as toxicity) as well as those arising from the cancer itself (such as an obstruction or compression). We also explore Malignancy of Unknown Origin/ Carcinoma of Unknown Primary.

We investigate the common pathways and protocols and challenge our students to critically analyse what this means regarding their role as well as the care the patients and their families need. We also consider complexity including leadership, ethical and professional dimensions. 

We implement a variety of methods in this blended module including independent study, case studies, online activities, and face-to-face simulated scenarios in our Simulation laboratory.    

This is a 20-credit module validated by UEA.

                                                                                                           (added to site 29/06/2022)

     Evidence Work Based Learning Module                               Picture 1.svg macmillan.svg

Macmillan’s work-based learning modules offer a fantastic opportunity for Macmillan professionals (and limited honorary places for non-Macmillan professionals) to participate in a fully funded academic module in collaboration with a university

 Students undertake a service development project at work and are supported to do this through study days with the university.

This is a fully funded module with 30 credits at degree or masters level for CPD or towards further education e.g. MSc.

Please find the attached a flyer EWBL for further information.  Please contact ServiceOpsSupport@macmillan.org.uk  via email for an application form


Please do contact us if you would like us to add information and links to any relevant education/training courses that you provide or are developing

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