There is no existing pediatric oncology nursing curriculum written specifically for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where 80% of children with cancer reside. In 2012, the International Society of Pediatric Oncology Nursing Working Group sought to address this gap with a 3-phase study.
Phase 1: identify educational priorities of LMIC nurses providing oncology care. Phase 2: solicit educational strategies from expert pediatric oncology nurses. Phase 3: develop a culturally adaptable modular curriculum framework based on LMIC nurses’ priorities.
A cross-sectional sample of LMIC nurses were surveyed (including Africa, Latin America, Asia). Next, 2 rounds of a Delphi survey were sent to expert pediatric oncology nurses from high-income countries with experience working in LMICs. A 2-day workshop was conducted to develop the framework.
Low- and middle-income country nurses’ survey responses indicated a similar need for specialty training (eg, chemotherapy and psychosocial support). Delphi survey participants agreed on educational strategies (eg, group discussions and peer teaching). Finally, 5 LMIC nurses committed to creating curriculum modules.
There is an urgent need for a curriculum framework created and field tested in LMICs. The International Society of Pediatric Oncology 3-phase project was a successful strategy for initiating this ongoing process.
Implications for Practice:
Translating or modifying existing oncology nursing curricula from high-income countries for use in LMICs is no longer adequate. Engaging LMIC nurses who care for children and adolescents with cancer in curriculum development, recognizing local cultures, traditions, and priorities and harnessing the LMIC nurses’ knowledge, experience, and resources are the logical solution for a relevant curriculum.