Two nurses discuss patient notes in a chemotherapy unit

Giving incredible care to women with ovarian cancer

Today we’re launching the ovarian cancer care standard. The standard sets out five principles that, when followed by healthcare professionals, will support women to live well with ovarian cancer from the moment they are diagnosed.

Nurses are crucial in ovarian cancer care

Nurses are at the cornerstone of good ovarian cancer care and we know how important they are to a woman’s care experience. So to develop the ovarian cancer care standard we drew on the expertise and experience of in CNSs from hospitals across the UK. We interviewed them to gain a clearer idea of the challenges they face, and what support and investment they need to provide the best care. Combined with findings from our Pathfinder study about the experiences of both CNSs and women with ovarian cancer, we had a solid foundation on which to build the ovarian cancer care standard.

Nurses' experiences

We closely examined nurses’ experiences of caring for women with ovarian cancer to find out what their challenges are and how we can help address them. Here’s what we found out:

  • Resources are stretched: CNSs are experiencing increasing demands on their time, with resources and support not always keeping pace and many lacking administrative support.
  • Training can be hard to access: CNSs can struggle to access education and training opportunities because of both funding and time constraints.
  • Holistic services are important: It’s vital that nurses can help women access wider services such as mental health support or a fatigue service.
  • Sharing is caring: CNSs are keen to share best practice across hospitals and services.

Built for nurses and women with ovarian cancer

The standard has been written to be clear-cut and direct. It’s first and foremost a tool for healthcare professionals, and is now available on our nurses' network, but it will also be useful for women with ovarian cancer to look at alongside Target Ovarian Cancer’s new ovarian cancer information checklist. Both are tools to make sure that no woman misses out on any element of great ovarian cancer care.

Alongside the standard we’ve also written a guide to getting started. This includes essential starting points to help services put the ovarian cancer care standard into place, based on what CNSs and women with ovarian cancer have shared with us.