Nurse practitioners are essential to the practice of oncology

According to a recent article on MedScape Medical News, nurse practitioners are making an important and necessary contribution to oncology departments.

The results of a study conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology show that a severe shortage of specialists is expected to coincide with an increase in cancer patients over the next decade. As the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of citizens who are over the age of 65 will double in the upcoming years, the amount of doctors retiring and individuals needing service will increase at the same time. Nurse practitioners are cited by experts as being necessary to help fill these predicted gaps.

"The role of the nurse practitioner in community oncology practice is an important topic that brings attention to the unique abilities, expertise and contributions of advanced practice nurses," Dorothy Guccione, an oncology nurse and educator who was interviewed by MedScape, told the news source.

The nurses pointed to the recently published Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, as illustrating the necessity of nurse practitioners filling gaps in the healthcare system. 

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