EONS - Patient safety and the power of nursing presence

Date 30 September 2019
Event ESMO 2019 Congress
Session EONS 12: Creating a safety culture in cancer care
Topics Supportive Measures
Presenter Laura Fennimore
Citation Annals of Oncology (2019) 30 (suppl_5): v825-v828. 10.1093/annonc/mdz274
Authors L. Fennimore
  • Acute And Tertiary Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, 15261 - Pittsburgh/US



The goal of patient safety is to reduce and eliminate preventable harm resulting from processes of care including the safe delivery of medication. Patient and occupational safety challenges are increasing in cancer care with the expanded use of oral chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other novel treatments. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration approved 59 novel drugs in 2018 including 19 applications of new cancer drugs and biologics as well as 38 supplemental indications and four biosimilars. Many of these novel agents will be delivered in settings that may not include the presence of a cancer nurse. Presence is a fundamental concept of nursing practice that involves active listening to facilitate understanding and meaningful connection between the patient and family and other members of the healthcare team. The safe delivery of cancer treatment is a critical component of the EONS Cancer Nursing Education Framework which defines the pivotal role of the presence of the cancer nurse in educating patients and caregivers about the safe use of cancer and symptom management medications, early recognition of side effects, and appropriate self-management approaches. As cancer care moves from traditional settings of the hospital, ambulatory clinic, or oncology provider’s office, nurses will be confronted with the need to redefine nursing presence in an era of increasingly complex healthcare delivery systems.


A literature search will be presented drawn from a review of PubMed, CINAHL, and EBSCO data bases using search terms related to “patient safety”, “nursing presence”, “vigilance”, and “medication safety”.


Not applicable.


This presentation will explore current literature related to the role of presence of the cancer nurse in safeguarding patient outcomes and quality cancer care. The session will include discussion and recommendations to increase the effective use of nursing presence and intentional communication by cancer nurses in diverse settings.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

The author.


Has not received any funding.


The author has declared no conflicts of interest.