November 22, 2000

Promising Prognosis for Cancer Nursing Care in Manitoba

People undergoing cancer treatment or living with the effects of this disease may soon benefit more quickly from new research into nursing care of cancer patients.

Dr. Lesley Degner, a registered nurse with a Ph.D in Cancer Nursing, was recently awarded a Chair in Cancer Nursing Research from the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSFR) . Dr. Degner is a professor at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Manitoba and also Director of the Cancer Nursing Research Group at the St. Boniface General Hospital. Her research is designed to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families.

The CHSFR, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) have made a commitment of close to $3 million over a ten-year period to a research program at the heart of which is cancer prevention, cancer care and palliative care.

The new Chair for Cancer Nursing Research will support the addition of evidence-based nursing knowledge into everyday practice. This investment will ensure that the latest knowledge in the field of cancer nursing care rapidly makes its way from the pages of scientific nursing journals to the side of people living with cancer.

Dr. Joanne Kesselman, Vice-President (Research) and Dr. David Gregory, Dean, Faculty of Nursing, at the University of Manitoba note, "We are delighted to have one of these prestigious Chairs housed at the U of M.. Dr. Degner has long been acknowledged as a national and international leader in oncology research. The new Chair will also help train and mentor nurse researchers, guiding their research studies to address the knowledge gaps in cancer nursing practice."

"Cancer can affect any one of us," says Dr. Degner. "According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the most frequently diagnosed cancers in Canada are breast cancers for women and prostate cancer for men. However, lung cancers, largely preventable, remains the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and women. In Manitoba, over 5,000 people will be newly diagnosed with cancer this year. Fewer than half will die. They will undergo treatment provided by teams of highly educated health professionals, many of whom are nurses."

Lesley Degner hopes to bring some measure of control to the lives of people who have been told they have cancer. "I am very grateful to the CHSRF and the CIHR for their support through this award. I believe bringing research to the patient quickly will bring some measure of support to patients living with cancer. They are being asked to make some of the most important decisions of their lives at a time when they can be very confused with their feelings and the information being provided to them. We hope to support their decision-making with knowledge that is based on evidence. The new Chair for Cancer Nursing Research will enable nurses to use the most advanced therapeutic nursing practices as they support people with cancer, help them confront their fears and make decisions about treatment."

"Dr. Degner is doing unique research that will attract interest in cancer nursing from students and researchers across the country," said Jan Currie, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. "The WHRA, in supporting Dr. Degner's application for funds, is pleased to be a regional co-sponsor of this Chair." The academic component of the program is located at the Faculty of Nursing while the research component will continue to be located at St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre. St. Boniface General Hospital CEO, Hubert Gauthier says, "Patients will ultimately benefit through this investment into research and this collaboration between research and nursing practice through improved care and knowledge. This recognition for nursing will help create a supportive environment for staff."

The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established in 1997 with endowed funds from the Federal Government, the Medical Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. It is a national organization with a focus on applied health services research and a mandate to serve the research needs of health system policy makers and managers.

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