The following article features coverage from ONS Bridge 2020. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

A quality improvement (QI) program workshop designed to provide a standardized approach for enhancing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of oncology nurses in using telephone triage was presented on the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Bridge, a virtual conference.

A literature review conducted as part of this initiative provided support for standardized approaches to nurse training that employ diverse educational strategies focused on the improvement of clinical practice.

However, despite the fact that the nurse is often the first point of contact in the process of telephone triage, a key element in the provision of ambulatory cancer care, standardized educational models for implementing oncology telephone triage are often unavailable. 

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The QI program described herein was developed by Kathryn Ciccolini, DNP, an adult acute care gerontology nurse practitioner and NP clinical manager of the chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) program at the Tisch Center Institute and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York, as part of an executive DNP program offered by Johns Hopkins University, and was based on the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-Based Conceptual Model and conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Through convenience sampling, 13 currently employed triage nurses who provided direct patient care in an outpatient oncology setting were selected for participation in the workshop.

As part of preworkshop testing, an online survey to assess knowledge and confidence, and participation in a virtual triage situation without feedback was administered 6 weeks prior to workshop participation to gauge skill level.

A 3-part workshop, which included “an online didactic lecture, an in-person group scenario with moderated questions, and a virtual triage simulation using a standardized case scenario with feedback” was conducted over a period of 12 weeks, explained Dr Ciccolini.

The same online survey as administered at baseline, including a virtual triage situation, was administered following workshop completion at 12 weeks, although feedback was provided at this point.

The implementation phase of this program was completed in February 2020, and an analysis of the results is ongoing.

“It is imperative that oncology nurses have robust training embedded within orientation as well as annual competency to ensure knowledge, confidence, and skills are kept at an optimal level,” noted the presenters.


Ciccolini K, Shelton G, Hanson B. A workshop for improving oncology nursing knowledge, confidence, and skill in using telephone triage models. Presented at: ONS Bridge; September 8-17, 2020. Accessed September 10, 2020.