Cheryl Rodgers, PhD, RN, CPNP, CPON, associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing, recently led the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Evidence-Based Practice Workshop at Duke University School of Nursing. COG is the world’s largest organization devoted to clinical development of new therapeutics for children and adolescents with cancer. The nursing discipline within COG is focused on setting standards of excellence for the care of children and adolescents with cancer treated on COG clinical trials.
Rodgers is the chair of the nursing discipline evidence-based practice (EBP) sub-committee and has been a member of the COG since 2011. The EBP sub-committee recruits nurses and other individuals from an interdisciplinary pool to help answer clinically relevant questions about nursing care by guiding them through the systematic review process. The questions originate from nursing practice issues and/or concerns from pediatric oncology nurses who are caring for children with cancer on clinical trials.
“This workshop provided nurses with the skills needed to take their clinical question, look for evidence, evaluate the evidence, synthesize findings and make recommendations on best practices for care of pediatric oncology patients,” says Rodgers.
Four teams currently have systematic review projects in progress that focus on pediatric oncology nursing care issues. These topics include identifying best practices for pain control in patients receiving procedures, factors affecting adolescents’ willingness to communicate, the most common toxicities of immunotherapy and best practices for the management of cytokine release syndrome.
“Ultimately, the skill of the nurse is very integral to how the child will respond and react to their therapy,” says Wendy Landier, PhD, RN, COG nursing discipline chair, associate professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. “Through the findings of these clinical questions, we want to be able to put evidence into the hands of nurses so they can provide the best care for their patients.”
COG nurses from around the world competitively apply to be a team member for the EBP projects. Nurses are trained with both didactic content and mentorship in small teams, extending beyond the workshop for one to two years culminating in dissemination of high-quality systematic reviews of topics critical to the discipline of pediatric oncology nursing.
“There is a variance in practice and nurses here at this workshop want to understand what is the evidence that can translated into practice, what’s the best recommendation that can be put into the hands of nurses to better care for their pediatric oncology patients,” says Colleen McLaughlin, DNP, RN, CPNP, DUSON DNP alumna, pediatric nurse practitioner, Duke University Medical Center. “To be a part of this process is one reason why I wanted to become a DNP, the excitement around the team that comes together and the dedication to wanting to improve patient outcomes is a wonderful experience.”