According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI, 2019), the number of invasive cancers that were registered annually in Ireland over the period covering 2017-2019 was approximately 35, 441 or 23, 890 when non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) are excluded. Based on current trends, the NCRI are projecting that current figures for cancer incidence are likely to double by 2045 (NCRI, 2019).
Nurses play a key role in the delivery of high of quality cancer services (National Cancer Control Programme, Health Services Executive, Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director, 2012). This role includes encouraging individuals to engage in primary and secondary prevention of cancer in addition to caring for and counselling patients throughout all stages of their cancer journey. To this end, the National Cancer Strategy (2017) has made recommendations to increase input from nursing across several areas and roles ranging from staff nurse to advanced nurse practitioner level.
Working in close collaboration with experienced and committed cancer nurses across a range of hospitals (public and private) and patient advocacy organisations (The Irish Cancer Society), the UCD post graduate cancer nursing programmes seek to provide cancer nurses with a range of high quality theoretical and clinical learning experiences to further enhance their role as cancer nurses.
Depending on their educational preparation* to date and the speciality area within which they work, nurses caring for patients with cancer can apply for either a Graduate Diploma, a Graduate Certificate or a Professional Diploma in Cancer Nursing, with the option to focus on either Adult Cancer Nursing, Children's Cancer Nursing, Breast Care Nursing or Colorectal Nursing. (The Graduate Certificate is only an option for nurses who have already completed a level 9 postgraduate diploma in nursing and the Professional Diploma is only an option for nurses who have already completed a level 9 postgraduate diploma in cancer/oncology nursing.