Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., May 4, 2012 – Oncology nurses in the outpatient setting face constant challenges in the management of patient care, as many cancer patients receive therapies known to cause allergic reactions or hypersensitivity. When such emergencies arise, oncology nurses need to quickly, competently and safely manage these specific needs. In order to address such a scenario, nurses at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) have developed a teaching method to make mock situations more closely resemble real emergency events. The work was presented in abstract form at the Oncology Nursing Society’s Annual Congress held this week in New Orleans. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The conference features presentations and poster sessions on site-specific cancers, prevention, detection, symptom management, treatment advances and other topics dedicated to oncology nursing. The work by CINJ nurses Yuk Wong, RN, BSN, MA, OCN, and Kira Lynn Voitle, BSN, RN, OCN, identifies and further explores the need to enhance patient safety through the development of a step-by-step rapid response procedure and hands-on simulation tool.

In order to ensure quality care for those patients experiencing a medical emergency, oncology nurses at CINJ developed a pilot of the teaching method, where they utilized the rapid response step-by-step procedure in order to determine the specific role responding nurses would play in handling the emergency. The nurses also utilized a ‘code cart’ with emergency medications and equipment, as well as a defibrillator, in mock scenarios in order to quickly detect changes in patient status so that responses can be improved during emergencies.

Those taking part in the pilot verbally expressed that they felt more comfortable and competent in handling urgent situations after having had additional use of emergency equipment in a training environment. Formal nurse evaluations, surveys of case scenario testing and mock practices, as well as analysis of live emergency situations are planned.

“Because an increasing number of novel cancer medications are being given in the outpatient setting, the number of treatments that have the potential to cause allergic or other negative reactions has dramatically increased. It is important during such emergencies that nurses feel comfortable in handling the situation rather than intimidated. By providing a hands-on teaching method in how to respond to these adverse reactions in the outpatient setting, we are further preparing our nurses with the advanced skills needed to address an emergency situation,” note the authors.

Both Wong and Voitle note the pilot can be adapted for use by all nurses in the outpatient setting in order to enhance both patient safety and patient outcome as directly affected by nursing care.

About The Cancer Institute of New JerseyThe Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. CINJ’s physician-scientists engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life. To make a tax-deductible gift to support CINJ, call 732-235-8614 or visit CINJ is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Follow us on Facebook at The CINJ Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Somerset Medical Center, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center at Princeton. *Academic Affiliate


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Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress