By Enza Esposito Nguyen, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, AOCNP
Posted: August 14, 2019
The upcoming ninth Latin American Conference on Lung Cancer—to be held in Mexico City, Mexico, in October 2019, and sponsored by the IASLC Latin American Group (LATAM)—will feature, for the first time, a notable, overdue addition: the first School of Nursing at a regional meeting.
This intense, 1-day workshop is aimed to support and foster the emerging role of the thoracic oncology nurse in Latin America and will be held on October 17, 2019. A panel of nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, physical therapists, and researchers from the United States and Latin America will discuss topics such as the role of the nurse in clinical trials, lung cancer screening programs, multidisciplinary management of patients receiving immunotherapy, and palliative care in thoracic malignancies. As a Latino nurse who was trained and who has worked in the United States for the past 22 years, I think the time is perfect to encourage and give my nursing colleagues throughout Latin America the tools and confidence to play a more dynamic role in thoracic oncology.
This innovative idea was the vision of Luis Raez, MD, FACP, FCCP, and Christian Rolfo, MD, PhD, MBA, who approached me just before 2018 World Conference on Lung Cancer, pointing out growing gap that is often unnoticed: the need to arm nurses outside of the United States with the tools and knowledge to become important members of the multidisciplinary thoracic oncology team. Nurses and nurse practitioners in the United States have become a vital part of the team by participating in screening programs, enrolling patients onto clinical trials, managing treatment-related adverse events, dynamically participating in tumor boards, and, in the case of the nurse practitioner and some physician assistants, autonomously managing patients’ treatments in collaboration with the oncologist.
“We are very happy to have an activity this year involving nurses from all over Latin America, continuing the great contribution that nurses have made over the past few years in IASLC and incorporating new members into the big IALSC family.” – Dr. Christian Rolfo
Today’s treatments are far more complex than they were in the past, and require not only the expertise of the physician, but of a whole professional team including nurses, therapists, dieticians, and social workers, to best manage the physical, social, and psychological sequalae of complicated and lengthy treatments. Our patients are living longer thanks to the great amount of progress made just in the past decade, and it literally requires a village to care for these patients.
The aim of the School of Nursing at the LATAM meeting is to provide an invitation “to the table” for nurses and advance practice nurses. I believe strongly there is a lot we can learn from each other; elevating the skills of nurses throughout Latin America as well as other parts of the world will advance both patient care and the IASLC’s mission.
Dr. Luis E. Raez, IASLC-LATAM chair, noted what an important opportunity this meeting is for nurses and nurse practitioners (APRNs) based in Latin America. In addition to this 1-day event held specifically for and taught by APRNs, attendees will have the benefit of gaining a broader understanding of the latest developments in lung cancer. The School of Nursing content will feature evidence-based instruction regarding management of targeted and immunotherapy complications, as well as provide best practices for ambulatory challenges, pain management, and palliative care initiatives. “We praise the efforts of Dr. Nguyen and her team for putting together such an important event,” Dr. Raez said.
According to Dr. Christian Rolfo, educational chair and schools LATAM chairman, the incorporation of the nursing school in the Latin American Congress is responding to the first aim of IALSC education. “We are very happy to have an activity this year involving nurses from all over Latin America, continuing the great contribution that nurses have made over the past few years in IASLC and incorporating new members into the big IALSC family,” Dr. Rolfo said. ✦
About the Author: Dr. Nguyen is a thoracic oncology nurse practitioner, urologic oncology nurse practitioner, and doctor of nursing practice in Austin, Texas. Dr. Raez, current chairman of the IASLC Latin American (LATAM) group, is a medical oncologist who works as medical director of Memorial Cancer Institute/Memorial Health Care System in Miami-Florida, he is also clinical professor of Medicine at Florida International University (FIU) and scientific chair of the 2019 IASLC-LALCA meeting.