Timely access to a breast care nurse can greatly assist women going through treatment for breast cancer. Breast care nurses improve the continuity of care for women, and provide important information, support and referral for a wide range of needs experienced by women.
Improving access to breast care nurses was the number one priority identified by women attending Breast Cancer Network Australia’s (BCNA) 1998 and 2004 national conferences for women with breast cancer.
- All Australians should have access to a breast care nurse whether they undergo treatment for breast cancer through the public or private health care system.
- Australians with both early and secondary breast cancer should have access to a breast care nurse.
- Appropriate training, accreditation and ongoing professional development should be available for breast care nurses to ensure that women receive the best quality care.
- The role of breast care nurses needs clarification, and should include a focus on psychosocial assessment and support for women.
- Funding for breast care nurse positions should be ongoing and sustainable.
- A range of breast care nurse models should be established, including for women in rural and remote areas who may access breast care nurses through the use of telephone and video conferencing calls.
- Breast care nurses must be included as members of multidisciplinary breast cancer teams.