About this ICCN Scholarship Series Blog
In February 2022 ICCN held their second virtual conference, Building Sustainability & Resilience: Global Perspective on Cancer Nursing. ICCN was a three-day event culminating in Plenary 4 simply titled Building Sustainability & Resilience. It was a series of interviews with nursing leaders including ISNCC President Patsy Yates, International Council of Nurses, CEO Howard Caton and European Oncology Nursing Society, President Johan de Munter plus cancer nurses from Afghanistan and Ethiopia discussing the challenges that are facing oncology nurses tasked with providing cancer and palliative care across diverse cultures. This was a highlight of the conference as it showcased the strength and fortitude of nurses who have continued to provide the best possible care during COVID19 pandemic and in some regions war and political challenges. I am pleased to present M. Asif Huassainyar a nurse leader from Afghanistan who was a speaker in plenary 4 and also a recipient of a scholarship from Canadian Oncology Nurses Society [CANO] who writes this blog.
ISNCC Chair ICCN Portfolio
Experiences of attending the International Conference in Cancer Nursing (ICCN2022)
Author: Mohammad Asif Hussainyar, Nursing Instructor, Aga Khan University Academic Projects Afghanistan and Board Member Afghanistan Cancer foundation
In Afghanistan, there is not any speciality in nursing including oncology nursing. The nurses who are working in the oncology wards are General Nursing Diploma graduates with few training opportunities in oncology. In Afghanistan there is only one oncology ward in one of the tertiary hospitals with two regional chemotherapy centres in Herat and Mazar Provinces.
The workload caring for oncology patients including those with palliative care needs, is increasing day by day, likely due to borders being closed as a consequence of COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden collapse of government and continuity of care.
The concept of Palliative Care in Afghanistan is new and few nurses have the knowledge and skills to provide palliative care in for people with cancer and other conditions. However, palliative care was added for the first time to the General Nursing Diploma Programme in 2020.
As a BSc Nurse who has the experience of one of the premier hospitals and a renowned university (Aga Khan) and a board member of the Afghanistan Cancer Foundation, I am a great advocate for palliative care for those in need. Moreover, I acknowledge the knowledge and skills of those nurses working in the oncology ward need support.
I appreciate the kind words and fellowship of organisations such as the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC) in bringing together the International Conference in Cancer Nursing which I found extremely valuable; it is important for nurses to discuss and debate trends in oncology nursing.
This is a call to action to members of the national and international nursing organizations working in health and in particular, in cancer, to support the Afghanistan Nursing Society and also include cancer and palliative care in their curricula as appropriate. This will lead to a cadre of specialist oncology nurses. Find out about your global scholarships, visiting fellowships and shared training - all for nurses in Afghanistan to scale up their knowledge and skills.