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Principles of Primary Health Care


The principles of providing medical care are largely based on the specifics of certain diseases since many illnesses require an individual approach and the involvement of special treatment means. Junior personnel involved in the healthcare system have to be well-versed in the particularities of caring for different patients, including both non-hazardous and complex cases. In order to assess the role of nurses in the process of providing skilled care, such a disease as cancer will be taken as the basis for analysis.

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Applying appropriate work practices to cancer patients is imperative to help, and there are specific principles that determine the level of staff responsibility. In particular, the work strategies mentioned by the WHO (2018) include such procedures as building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills, and reorienting health services. Based on these approaches, it is possible to evaluate the role of nurses in caring for cancer patients and make the assessment of the range of responsibilities put on junior medical employees.

Building Healthy Public Policy

In order to achieve comprehensive and high-quality medical care for cancer patients, it is necessary to provide support for the current course of work in different directions. According to WHO (2018), “health promotion policy combines diverse but complementary approaches including legislation, fiscal measures, taxation and organizational change” (para. 2). Nevertheless, despite a large number of stakeholders, a significant role is given to nurses as those employees who are in direct contact with patients and help them. Consequently, the participation of junior medical personnel in building a sustainable and stable public policy for caring for cancer patients is essential.

Nurses can work with the population and use existing skills to alert people about the potential effects of cancer and its prevention. As Rubin et al. (2015) note, the purpose of primary care in cancer has always been seen as peripheral. However, in order to achieve real preventive care, it is essential to ensure the mode of operation in which all immediate stakeholders can participate equally in the elimination of the spread of the dangerous disease.

The role of nurses, in this case, can be reduced to organizational changes in care. For instance, employees of this profile may not only assist patients in the treatment process but also help them to adapt to new living conditions. If such activity is maintained, the chance of increasing the life expectancy of cancer patients can be increased, which is certainly a positive working outcome.

Creating Supportive Environments

Psychological support is the crucial component of effective and comprehensive care for those people who are forced to fight such a dangerous disease as cancer. According to Mullaney et al. (2016), “environmental aspects, both physical and psychosocial, seem to have a strong impact on patients’ well-being and it is seen as important to create environments in hospitals that support patients’ needs” (p. 113). Using an individual approach is one of the key points that nursing ethics provides for cancer patients. Therefore, the role of healthcare employees in this issue is significant.

When speaking of actual staff interventions, special oncology nurse practitioner competencies discussed by Yarbro, Wujcik, and Gobel (2016) may be mentioned. The authors remark that nurses’ work concerning such care “facilitates patient decision making by explaining treatment alternatives and potential outcomes, including the option of discounting active cancer treatment while optimizing supportive care” (Yarbro et al., 2016, p. 2111).

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This approach allows both staff and people with oncology to endure the period of treatment more easily and to concentrate on recovery as much as possible. Moreover, nursing support helps to minimize depressive moods in cancer patients and gives them an opportunity to avoid negative thoughts. Therefore, the prospect of staff’s direct involvement in moral assistance offers quite good benefits for the treatment process.

Strengthening Community Action

One of the strengths of health promotion for cancer patients is an ability to work together. Medical personnel can cooperate and share knowledge and experience regarding this problem, thereby achieving better results. However, nursing communities have some challenges associated with the lack of professional skills in this area. According to the study conducted by Faithfull, Samuel, Lemanska, Warnock, and Greenfield (2016), community nurses have low confidence in managing care for cancer patients. To correct this problem, strengthening joint actions is required in order to improve the skills of medical personnel and gain additional experience.

Although nursing communities are constantly replenished by new members, more knowledge is required to increase the competence of medical professionals and enhance the possibility of developing greater opportunities for qualified interventions. The scheme of actions may involve the application of each individual employee’s experience and patient engagement in joint activities by promoting the activity of groups (The Press Association, 2014).

If community members have access to various cases related to oncology, their knowledge may be complemented significantly. Accordingly, the management of medical facilities should pay more attention to the preparedness of subordinates regarding this issue. In case of constant skills training, practical benefits will be more substantial, and specialists will be able to work with the population more productively. Therefore, enhancing the activity of nursing communities and the skills of their members is a valuable and important task.

Developing Personal Skills

Although group work is certainly a successful way of solving many pressing problems, personal skills play an equally important role. Particular attention should be paid to an ability to interact because a well-established contact with both patients and colleagues allows achieving high-performance results due to mutual understanding. According to MacLean, Kelly, Geddes, and Della (2017), it is essential “to integrate communication skills training into undergraduate and graduate nursing education” (p. 92).

The role of mentors, in this case, can be reduced to stimulating the training of medical staff in relation to interaction with one another. If nursing staff use communication skills reasonably, it will have a positive impact on the process of care and, as a consequence, the promotion of health among the population.

One of the real ways of improving personal professional skills is to improve knowledge continuously and contact with patients. As Vishnevsky, Quinlan, Kilmer, Cann, and Danhauer (2015) argue, “nurses develop personal growth, wisdom, and benevolence as a result of the emotional connections formed with patients” (p. 326). At the same time, not only informal interaction can contribute to the growth of professional potential but also communication with more experienced colleagues. Participation in research programs and projects, work in nursing communities, and other ways of sharing knowledge may be effective in acquiring valuable attainments. It, in turn, has a positive effect on the quality of nursing care and patient outcomes.

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Reorienting Health Services

Appropriate changes in the healthcare system should be undertaken if the current work regarding the fight against cancer is not effective enough. According to WHO (2018), all the participants of care delivery are to join forces to increase responsibility for health promotion. This activity provides for different conditions and principles for the organization of the work of medical staff. A wider range of tasks should be addressed by specialists since the comprehensive assessment of performance, and timely change is important (EdCaN, 2018). Otherwise, the situation may remain the same, and no significant achievements will be possible.

Finding valuable resources for working with cancer patients should be regular. This activity, as Roden, Jarvis, Campbell-Crofts, and Whitehead (2015) remark, may be held in nursing communities where an opportunity for joint efforts is opened, and access to new educational resources is provided. It is also essential to take measures regarding the education of the population and convey to people valuable information related to the background of cancer and its consequences. All of these steps may help to reorient the current healthcare policy and achieve greater efficiency in dealing with the issue in question.


The described approaches to promoting health among the population can be used by nursing staff to fight oncological diseases and help cancer patients. The key strategies considered in the context of potential nursing work include building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills, and reorienting health services. All these steps make it possible to achieve changes in the current conditions of medical care and revise the principles of medical activity in order to achieve the most effective interaction with patients and one another.


EdCaN. (2018). Cancer control: Prevention and early detection. Web.

Faithfull, S., Samuel, C., Lemanska, A., Warnock, C., & Greenfield, D. (2016). Self-reported competence in long term care provision for adult cancer survivors: A cross sectional survey of nursing and allied health care professionals. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 53, 85-94. Web.

MacLean, S., Kelly, M., Geddes, F., & Della, P. (2017). Use of simulated patients to develop communication skills in nursing education: An integrative review. Nurse Education Today, 48, 90-98. Web.

Mullaney, T., Olausson, K., Sharp, L., Zackrisson, B., Edvardsson, D., & Nyholm, T. (2016). The influence of a department’s psychosocial climate and treatment environment on cancer patients’ anxiety during radiotherapy. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 20, 113-118. Web.

Roden, J., Jarvis, L., Campbell-Crofts, S., & Whitehead, D. (2015). Australian rural, remote and urban community nurses’ health promotion role and function. Health Promotion International, 31(3), 704-714. Web.

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Rubin, G., Berendsen, A., Crawford, S. M., Dommett, R., Earle, C., Emery, J.,… Zimmermann, C. (2015). The expanding role of primary care in cancer control. The Lancet Oncology, 16(12), 1231-1272. Web.

The Press Association. (2014). Scheme aims to get more cancer nurses into community. Nursing Times. Web.

Vishnevsky, T., Quinlan, M. M., Kilmer, R. P., Cann, A., & Danhauer, S. C. (2015). “The keepers of stories”: Personal growth and wisdom among oncology nurses. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 33(4), 326-344. Web.

World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Health promotion. Web.

Yarbro, C. H., Wujcik, D., & Gobel, B. H. (2016). Cancer nursing: Principles and practice (8th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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