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J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2005 Sep-Oct;22(5):250-3.

The evolution of the role of nurses: the history of nurse practitioners in pediatric oncology.

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  • 1City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, USA.


The role of nursing has been around since the beginning of time as demonstrated historically by caretakers who have attempted to relieve the suffering of children and of the sick within their community. In the late 1940s, the field of pediatric oncology nursing began emerging, and by the early 1970s, there were 2 pediatric nurse practitioner programs specific for pediatric oncology. The practice strategies for this role include not only directing and providing patient care to children with oncologic diseases but also negotiating the healthcare delivery system, monitoring and ensuring the quality of health care practice, offering family-centered care, and demonstrating cultural competency. In essence, the nurse practitioner role is multifaceted, requiring independent and interdependent decision making and direct accountability for clinical judgment in managing the care of children with cancer and their families.

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