A formative evaluation of Nurse Cancer Care Coordinators: Building a platform for ongoing evaluation and development.
Continuity of care is integral to the quality of care provided to people with cancer and their carer(s). The need to address fragmented cancer care has been addressed in part by the development of the Nurse Cancer Care Coordinator (NCCC) roles. It is imperative to provide evidence of the contribution these roles make in improving the continuity of cancer care.
The aim of the project was to clarify the theory underpinning the role of NCCCs and provide a tool for ongoing evaluation of these roles. This included theory underpinning how the role works including activities performed; resources required; expected outcomes; within a given context.
The project was a qualitative study comprising of a literature review and exploring the views of experts (semi-structured interviews/email questionnaire), to develop a program logic. The participants were purposely selected to represent a range of perspectives including policy-makers, practitioners, patient advocates, and researchers.
The diversity of NCCC roles and theory was reflected in both the literature and practice. NCCC roles and activities were identified at the individual, organisational and systems level.
A range of theories were discussed that may inform the conceptualisation of NCCC roles including Complex Adaptive Systems, Boundary Spanning Theory and Relational Coordination; and the implication for roles focusing at different levels of the system were explored.
The increasing complexity and demand for better coordinated care highlights the need to further research how NCCCs contribute to improving equity, safety, quality and coordination of care. The project has implications for research policy and practice, and makes explicit existing the theory (based on both the literature and in practice) to provide a platform for further evaluation for development of these roles.