Society Focus - August 2018
Austrian Association of Hematology and Oncology Nurses

AHOP – Arbeitsgemeinschaft hämatologischer und onkologischer Pflegepersonen

Logo of AHOP

AHOP was founded in 1994, and since then the number of members has increased to an impressive 560 people.

Our guiding theme is to raise the quality in hemato-oncology nursing: oncology nurses need to be recognised as equal partners with patients and doctors. To reach this goal we have started several activities, which are described below.

We initiated the project “cancer nurse”: A paper was developed stressing the importance of the specialisation of oncology nursing. Only the best-educated nurses can deliver the best care. A “cancer nurse” training was started in several nursing schools across Austria eight years ago – now many nurses complete it successfully every year. Though the recent law amendment in the health sector did not include the recognition of the “cancer nurses” as specialisation we continue to advocate for that.

We also try to offer a wide range of educational possibilities for our members. An annual highlight is our spring convention: this is attached to the oncologists’ congress and about 100 nurses take part every year. Presentations, speeches, workshops take place. A wide range of topics is presented there, for example: psycho-oncology, treatment of adverse events, updates on chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Every year three nurses are awarded the Bernhard-Glawogger-Grant, in these respective categories research, practice projects and final assignments.

AHOP President and Extended Board at the Spring Meeting
AHOP President and Extended Board at the Spring Meeting

Each of the nine counties of Austria offers local training days with a mixed programme. Additionally, there are some courses on our annual plan, which are held once in the West, once in the East of Austria: “Checkpoint Immun” focuses on new developments in immuno-oncology, “Onko-Talking” – it focuses on talking together even in challenging situations.

TITAN and TARGET – training programmes developed by EONS were held regularly and will be back on track as soon as a German version of the update is available.

To reach the members, our journal AHOP- News is published twice a year. Newsletters are sent regularly per email; presentations of recent events can be found in the members’ area on our webpage. Upcoming events are announced on Facebook and on the webpage. On Facebook we also invite our members to post pictures from events or share articles or news.

Young oncology nurses in particular need to be motivated to stay in the sector. In favour of that, AHOP requested motivated young cancer nurses to become a board member at AHOP.Three young applied and they are now working actively to build up a network for the “next generation” within our country.

Finally, looking back on more than 20 years’ existence of our association we can proudly say that things are progressing in our country. Maybe sometimes not as fast as we would like but quality among cancer nurses has definitely improved over recent years. Not only are the nurses themselves more conscious about staying up to date, but the general public has started realizing too that they can only be excellently cared for when cancer nurses are excellently trained.