The breast care nurse: the care specialist in breast centres

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Abstract

Background:

In Europe, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women; 26.5 per cent of all new malignant diseases and 17.5 per cent of all cancer deaths are due to this type of cancer. In Germany, approximately every tenth woman is diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

Objective:

In order to increase the quality of life of breast cancer patients, the European Society of Mastology (EUSOMA) requires the availability of, and an integration of qualified and specialized care into the interdisciplinary team. Thus, in Germany, a new type of job profile for ‘breast nurse’ as a qualified care specialist has to be established and has to be oriented towards the international standards of a breast care nurse (BCN).

Methods:

The Charité's Academy of Health – in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Breast Centre of the Charité– has offered a career advisory service curriculum for the BCN since 2006 in accordance with the EUSOMA guidelines.

Results:

In three courses, 45 BCNs have been trained. In the first refresher seminar in May 2009, the BCNs were given an opportunity to exchange with fellow BCNs their experiences.

Conclusion:

We were able to set up a new curriculum to train nurses as BCNs as to improve the quality of care for breast cancer patients and to orientate the training towards the international standards of a BCN qualification.

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