Best Practices / Research Oral Abstract

Improving Quality of Care Through a Provincial Standardized Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Program (O026)

Laura Rashleigh (de Souza Institute); Donalda McDonald (de Souza Institute);
Esther Green (Cancer Care Ontario); Tracy Soong (de Souza Institute); Jiahui Wong (de Souza Institute); Mary Jane Esplen (de Souza Institute)


A review of a systematic curriculum development and delivery approach to provide province wide standardized chemotherapy and biotherapy nursing education in Ontario


Chemotherapy and biotherapy are common treatment methods used in cancer care. As new antineoplastic agents are introduced at an ever increasing rate, nurses, regardless of their clinical experience or practice setting, face challenges in maintaining competence and in providing high quality, safe care to patients.


A province wide chemotherapy and biotherapy education program was developed by de Souza Institute in collaboration with Cancer Care Ontario to support patient safety and promote high quality of care for all Ontarians. The program includes 1) a standardized chemotherapy and biotherapy course; 2) a regional facilitator course and 3) a continuing competency program providing the latest evidence to nurses and supporting their ongoing reflective practice.

A combination of online learning, live videoconferencing and learning labs has been used to deliver this program. The content incorporates provincial, national and international standards, and uses case studies and standardized patients to consolidate knowledge uptake. A rigorous evaluation process and a standardized exam ensures that all nurses receiving a certificate of completion reach the same standard of excellence, regardless of facilitator or training setting.


Since 2008, more than 900 nurses across Ontario participated in this program. The course completion rate, as measured by the number of nurses passing exit exam, ranges from 70.4% to 96.3% across the province.

Application and Future Directions

Ongoing course refinements are being made to optimize the integration of learning into clinical practice, and to support competency maintenance over time. Lessons learned and implications for change will be shared.

Funding Sources

de Souza Institute is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This program is part of the de Souza curriculum


There is/are no conflict(s) of interest.