By Enza Esposito Nguyen, DNP
Posted: December 11, 2019
The IASLC held its ninth Latin American Lung Cancer (LALCA) regional meeting in Mexico City this past October. Interest in this meeting has grown consistently, with more than 800 attendees participating this year. Each year, pre-conference schools are offered to provide in-depth content coverage for specialty groups within the organization. This year, three schools were offered: IASLC School of Thoracic Oncology, IASLC School of Pathology, and for the first time, IASLC School of Nursing (SON). The proposal for the SON was conceived by Luis Raez, MD, FACP, FCCP, and Christian Rolfo, MD, PhD, MBA, who recognized the significant contribution of nurses to the care of patients with lung cancer through the trajectory of their illness. They also recognized that there was a gap in specialty education for nurses.
As the event chair, I worked closely with local nursing delegates to assess the educational needs of thoracic nurses and identify regional nursing experts to present. The program was developed to provide an overview and updates on nurses’ roles in clinical trials, access to care, lung cancer staging, biomarker testing, lung cancer screening programs, survivorship, and nutrition. Case-based presentations provided an opportunity for nurses to discuss the care of patients in the postoperative setting and in those receiving chemotherapy, targeted therapies, or radiation therapy; pain and symptom management; management of immune-mediated adverse side effects; and stigma of palliative care.
Approximately 40 nurses from Mexico, Panama, and Brazil pre-registered. There was such enthusiasm for the SON that a total of 75 attendees were present, including several medical oncologists and thoracic surgeons who joined the SON to bring back information to the nurses with whom they work. Nursing participants appreciated the extent to which they shared common issues relating to the care of patients with complex cases of lung cancer, incorporation of palliative care early in the continuum of care, and management of the diverse family unit. In addition, nurses from each of the countries represented shared similar experiences in barriers to care delivery and gaps in access to care. All participants expressed interest in opportunities to participate in ongoing webinars and regional meetings to support their practice.
The next IASLC regional meeting is scheduled for November 2021 in Montevideo, Uruguay, with the goal of offering the second LALCA-SON. This SON program can serve as a model for other regional meeting around the globe to support and develop the practice of thoracic nursing worldwide. ✦