Current Status of Pediatric Oncology Clinics and Nursing Practices in Turkey

Karaman N., Yilmaz P.

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing, vol.40, no.5, pp.351-355, 2023 (Scopus) identifier identifier


Background: Cancer is a significant health problem in Turkey with pediatric cancer being the fourth leading cause of death among children. Pediatric oncology has been acknowledged as a pediatric subspecialty since 1983, and 3,000 new cases of childhood cancer are expected every year. Method: We describe our country's geography, the number and distribution of pediatric oncology centers, the profile of clinical and academic nurses, and our clinical practice. We present two nurse-led research projects. Results: Although nursing practice differs according to centers, treatment and care are usually evidence-based, especially in university and public hospitals in big cities. Nurses with an undergraduate education work in pediatric oncology units; however, few nurses with graduate degrees work in clinical settings. The Turkish Oncology Nurses Association supports the development and implementation of guidelines for evidence-based nursing care. Nurses’ clinical responsibilities include patient admission to the clinic, patient and family education, care coordination, patient care, symptom management, palliative, and intensive care services. Results of two recent nurse-led studies highlight challenges to meet the needs of patients and families from surrounding countries, including refugees, and opportunities for nurses to provide holistic support to parents of hospitalized children. Discussion: Increasing the number of nurses is a priority to improve pediatric oncology nursing care. Actions to advance pediatric oncology nursing include developing advanced clinical roles for nurses with graduate degrees; supporting nurses caring for children and families from outside Turkey, including language support services; and resources to conduct national and international studies related to professional and holistic care delivery.