Let nurses do their jobs: Report

Oncology nurses spend up to one-third of time on non-nursing duties

Due to widespread hospital staff shortages, nurses are spending too much time on non-nursing duties such as serving meals and changing sheets and not enough time providing care, according to a new report.

The Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada recently released its 2007 report card, which included a survey of nurses at oncology centres across the country, and found almost one-third of a nurse's time is spent on non-nursing tasks.

The report called that "a high rate of time squandered to the detriment of cancer patients."

The report stated nurses are key to helping patients navigate through their cancer care and cope with the physical and emotional burdens of cancer.

"Nurses must be relieved of the many extraneous tasks that abound in a clinic so their professional time is applied to nursing patients," stated the report.

It recommended that cancer centres identify and remove attitudinal and administrative barriers to a "fully implemented primary nursing model of care."

This could include hiring enough clerical, housekeeping and other staff so that nurses aren't forced to take on these roles.

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