Since 2013, EAUN has accompanied me in my professional life with all its evidence-based and educational resources. I realised early that if I wanted to make a difference in the further professionalisation of urological care, I had to change my position from a resource user to a resource developer. After a while, I got the opportunity to serve on the Scientific Committee of EAUN and to participate in the EAU Patient Information initiative.
After seven years of experience working for a non-profit organisation, I applied for EAUN Board membership. I was happy when the board approved my application. However, due to the Sars-COVID pandemic, EAUN members had no chance to vote on my Board membership. Therefore, the EAUN Board decided to accept me as EAUN Board Member Elect for one year until the members will be given the opportunity to vote at EAUN21 in Milan. To introduce myself to the EAUN members, I am happy to give a brief personal insight.
Originally graduated as a Registered Nurse in Germany, I decided to move to Switzerland in 2010 due to the greater opportunities there to graduate in Advanced Nursing Practice (ANP). After graduation, my first employment in Switzerland was at the University Hospital Bern in the Department of Urology, High Dependency Unit, in 2012. This department was specialised in surgical treatment of people with uro-oncological tumours (e.g. bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, etc.). As a result, I was able to gain experience with these patient groups at an early stage of my career.
At the High Dependency Unit, I quickly noticed that especially men with bladder or prostate cancer had no possibilities to express and discuss their worries and fears. Unmet needs such as how to cope with the diagnosis and therapeutic side effects, e.g. sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and communication problems in a couple’s relationship came to light. To meet unmet needs of relatives at the High Dependency Unit, a care model to include and empower them with comprehensive information was introduced.
ANP counselling service
In addition to my work at the High Dependency Unit, I had the opportunity to gain research experience with the project “Development of a guideline for people with a long-term urinary catheter,” led by Rita Willener, CNS. As a research associate, I was responsible for the systematic literature review, critical appraisal of studies/guidelines, the organisation and management of meetings and the development of a guideline adapted to the Swiss national context. The project resulted in a recommendation by the Swiss Society for Patient Safety and a publication.
In August 2013, I was promoted to an ANP position and was commissioned to develop a counselling service for patients with prostate cancer. Fulfilling an ANP role according to the PEPPA framework by Bryant-Lukosius (2004), coupled with the development of a counselling service, required various competencies, in particular leadership to co-lead the project next to Rita Willener and to convince stakeholders to support the project. Already at the beginning of the ANP project, considerations were made how the counselling service could be evaluated. By means of a descriptive evaluation, it was shown at an early stage that the ANP counselling service had closed a health service gap with the provision of psycho-oncological care for men with prostate cancer and their partners. This awoke an increased interest in the innovative ANP counselling service, which had been implemented for the first time in this format in Switzerland. Highlights were when the ANP counselling service was awarded the Bernese Care Prize and the Phenomenon Award. An invitation to give a lecture at a Symposium by the Swiss National Cancer League, supported by the national government, was a good opportunity to spread the word about psycho-oncological care for men with prostate cancer and their partner.
Boosting the theory-practice transfer
Further experience followed in haemato-oncological care, nursing practice development and quality management. At this stage, I realised that if I wanted to deepen my knowledge about the evaluation of nursing interventions, I had to become a research associate. A possibility arose soon and I started working in the Academic-Practice-Partnership (APP) of the University of Applied Sciences Berne and the University Hospital Berne, in November 2018.
The APP enables me to use my clinical experience of and knowledge about the implementation/evaluation of ANP roles in various settings. Advanced Practice Nurses often lack time and do not have the necessary methodological skills to evaluate their interventions and the effects of their role. Due to the position in the APP, I am able to support Advanced Practice Nurses in boosting the evaluation of ANP interventions Projects in which I am currently involved mainly relate to:
- the evaluation of ANP roles for people with oncological diseases (sarcoma, glioblastoma, etc.);
- the analysis of interface management problems and the potential of interprofessional collaboration in complex patient pathways;
- the application and evaluation of the Swiss interprofessional collaboration tool SIPEI.
In addition to my work as a research associate, I have been participating in a PhD programme since spring 2020. This programme will illustrate the contributions of APNs to the care of people with an oncological disease and their job satisfaction, in Switzerland.
All in all, I would like to say that my passion and fascination for urological nursing has been a constant feature in my career. Also, my various commitments at the EAUN and EAU reflect that urology is the discipline that I support and promote.
I remember that when I was working as an Advanced Practice Nurse, I was often frustrated not to have sufficient research skills to evaluate ANP interventions. Nursing-evidence is one of the most important aspects of nursing practice development. From my point of view, it needs more leaders who have experience in urological nursing and have sufficient research skills to make accomplishments of urological nurses visible and show its benefits for patients.
I will be very happy when we can finally meet and exchange views in Milan at EAUN21.
Until then, I wish all members good health.
Franziska Geese, MScN, RN, EAUN Board Member Elect, Berne, Switzerland, email@example.com