Last update: 02/22/2024
Nurse adjusting a drip

Fundamentals of Cancer Nursing

This online education resource is designed for novice cancer nurses and nurses caring for people affected by cancer in non-specialist cancer settings. It is made up of six evidence-based modules, each of which focuses on a specific aspect of cancer care, providing essential knowledge on each topic.

Aim: To build essential knowledge for practice among novice cancer nurses and nurses caring for people affected by cancer in non-specialist cancer settings.

Learning objectives:

  • Learners will develop fundamental knowledge of cancer, cancer treatment and patient care along the cancer care continuum.

  • Learners will develop knowledge to apply best-practice cancer care

Intended learning outcomes:

  • Identify common types of cancer and outline different methods of cancer diagnosis and staging.

  • Identify the main types of cancer treatment, describing how they work, and demonstrate awareness of appropriate safety precautions.

  • Identify common cancer symptoms and treatment side effects and recognize when to escalate care.

  • Recognise best practice communication skills to engage in sensitive conversations with patients and family members, and recognise when to escalate care.

  • Understand the importance of supportive care in cancer and know how to find supportive care resources.

  • Define and better understand palliative care.

  • Recognise when someone is nearing death and outline strategies to manage symptoms at end of life.

Partner Organisations

This resource was developed by Academic Nursing Unit at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Victorian Cancer Covid-19 Network (VCCN) Oncology Expert Nursing Group and the VCCC Alliance.

Course Overview

Module 1: Cancer Essentials

Module 2: Cancer Treatments

Module 3:  Managing Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Side-effects

Module 4: Communication Skills in Cancer Care

Module 5:  Supportive Care in Cancer

Module 6: Palliative and End of Life Care for People with Cancer

Academic and Design Team

Project Lead

Prof. Mei Krishnasamy, Lead Investigator, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Project Officer

Ms. Jessica Balson - Research Project Officer, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Project Team

Ms. Sue Bartlett -  Symptom & Urgent Review Nurse, Ballarat Integrated Cancer Centre

Ms. Vicki McLeod - Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Monash Health

Dr. Sharon de Graves - Program Manager, Nurse-Led Research, VCCC Alliance

Ms. Hayley Beer – Myeloma Clinical Nurse Consultant, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Mr. Trevor Saunders – Clinical Nurse Educator, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Ms. Margaret Hjorth – Group Director of Nursing, Icon Group

Education Development and Design

Erin Turner  VCCC Alliance Education Team  



This project was supported by the Victorian Nurses and Midwives Trust (VNMT). The views expressed in this resource do not represent those of the VNMT.


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