Risk and Reward: why the specialist urology nurse is a role worth fighting for

Beatriz Mora, Surgical Care Practitioner at North Bristol NHS Trust, describes how specialist urology practitioners are helping to transform prostate cancer care – and why the roles are perfect for any aspirational nurse who wants to improve the patient experience.

At the dawn of a new decade, UK prostate cancer care is at a critical juncture. 2020 began with confirmation that prostate cancer had overtaken breast cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England – ten years ahead of previous estimates. The news report a deeper context around recent research from Prostate Cancer UK that revealed a worrying shortage of prostate cancer nurse specialists. The study highlighted a shortfall of 300 specialist urology nurses, with only six CNSs for every 1000 people diagnosed with a urological cancer in England. The implications are significant – commentators say the lack of numbers is negatively affecting care, fuelling widespread variation across the country and depriving some patients of expert support. The future is equally troubling, with 41% of prostate CNSs planning to retire in the next decade and general nursing vacancy rates currently somewhere between