Contemporary society has entered the age of information explosion. Disciplines continually interact and merge. As a discipline focused on maintaining and promoting human health, nursing tends to be highly refined and integrated. It is necessary to break the disciplinary barriers and category boundaries of nursing to enable interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary practice. “Nursing Plus” indicates the practice of nursing with other disciplines, such as engineering, materials, electronic commerce, and artificial intelligence. Regarding cancer care, multiple products have been developed via “Nursing Plus,” such as the patient-care robot, cabinet nursing bed, recommendation system for cancer patients, and intelligent nursing interactive system. These innovations have broadened the scope of cancer care and made healthcare services available to a wider range of application scenarios.
Because of improvements in screening and treatment, the long-term survival rates of cancer patients are rising. As each patient’s needs cannot be managed by one single discipline, there is a need for multidisciplinary collaboration for cancer care among nurses and professionals from other fields.
The scope of cancer care has expanded from limited care during treatment to full life-cycle care. Nurses are required to have extensive knowledge about cancer care and to develop awareness and skills of interdisciplinary care. With the continuous promotion and application of multidisciplinary collaborative diagnosis and treatment in clinical settings, the multidisciplinary nursing consultation model plays an increasingly important role. This model strengthens the cooperation between nurses from different research fields. Centering on clinical issues, nurses are required to promote the integration of preventive medicine, clinical medicine, pharmacy, sociology, and psychology. Certain efforts have been made in this regard. For example, the Surgical Dream Workshop is an innovative teaching platform combining science, technology, and medicine in China and aiming to promote multidisciplinary integration and innovation for nurses and others.1 By going beyond nurses, the program conveys an important message that the boundaries of disciplines have gradually blurred.
Regarding the increasing need for precision medicine, some studies used a multidisciplinary approach to implementing personalized care for cancer patients. For example, Haq et al2 developed and investigated the need for personalized treatment and care plans from the perspective of newly diagnosed invasive patients with breast cancer. With the help of multidisciplinary team members in collaboration with an institutional Internet Technology department, a mobile app named “The Care Plan Application” was developed to collect the data and for meeting the personalized needs.
Informatization is the inevitable trend; it is an important starting point for cooperation between clinical nursing and other fields. For example, mobile apps serve as an optimal option to ensure continuing care throughout the survivorship of cancer patients. When large samples are collected, big data analysis technology will assist in obtaining accurate information from the data. From the foregoing, it is clear that many clinical scenarios require multidisciplinary forces, not only limited to medical professionals but also with the help of many interdisciplinary professionals such as researchers from information science, data science, and big data technology.
To sum up, these “Nursing Plus” attempts to draw on the strengths of different disciplines to better meet the needs of care and help solve some problems in nursing practice. Multidisciplinary care is central to optimizing cancer care and improving clinical outcomes. However, “Nursing Plus” only accounted for a small proportion of nursing practice currently. Incorporating the “Nursing Plus” products in nursing still needs to overcome many obstacles. A lack of knowledge toward other fields, technical problems, and data security concerns sometimes impact the attempts and limit the clinical use of “Nursing Plus” products. Considering the strength of “Nursing Plus” in cancer care, more attempts and efforts are encouraged in the future.
Changrong Yuan, PhD, RN
Fudan University, School of Nursing, 305 Fenglin Road Shanghai 200032, China.
Editorial Board Member, CANCER NURSING: An International Journal for Cancer Care Research
1. Tang X, Tian W, Du Y, et al. Application of an interdisciplinary technology innovation platform in cultivating the innovation ability of master of nursing students. Chin J Nurs Educ
2. Haq R, Kong A, Gulasingam P, et al. A multidisciplinary approach to implementing personalized breast cancer treatment and care plans. Curr Oncol