Objective: In Western Australia the cancer nurse coordinator (CNC) role is unique, state wide and situated in nursing. It requires the domains of clinical expert, resource consultant, educator, change agent, researcher and advocate to facilitate seamless coordination of care for patients across metropolitan, rural and remote geographical areas of Western Australia. This study examined the role, function and impact of CNCs from the perspective of coordinators themselves.

Design: Prospective two-phase mixed method study. This paper reports data from the Self Report Activity Questionnaire in Phase one.

Setting: The state-wide Western Australian Cancer Nurse Coordinator Service.

Subjects: Metropolitan and rural CNCs (n=18) who had worked in the role for at least six months.

Results: Overall, CNCs spent 70% of time in clinical consultation and 41% of CNCs reported having an educational role. Most CNCs (71%) noted that at least half of their patients had complex psychosocial needs at referral. Key role-related activities related to direct nursing care and patient education were performed most frequently on a daily basis. Tasks related to care management planning, patient advocacy and multidisciplinary clinical care were performed weekly. Strategic, team communication and professional development activities were performed less frequently.

Conclusion: Diversity of the CNC role was demonstrated with findings showing that CNCs fulfilled the core components of the specialist cancer nurse. Given the clear need to provide consistent support to cancer patients in an increasingly individualised and integrated manner, we consider the CNC role a fundamental element of quality cancer care.


cancer care coordination, cancer nursing, psychosocial care, specialist cancer nurse, service delivery


This article originally published: -

Monterosso, L., Platt, V., Krishnasamy, M., Yates, P., and Bulsara, C. (2016) The cancer nurse coordinator service in Western Australia: perspectives of specialist cancer nurse coordinators. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 34(2): 16-26.

Reprinted with permission of AJAN (Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing).

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


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