Swiss-Austrian Oncology Nurses Survey 

Project Management
Michael Simon

Sabine Valenta
Michael Ketzer
Sarah Musy

External Partner
L’Institut universitaire de formation et de recherche en soins – IUFRS, UNIL (Chantal Arditi, André Da Silva Lopes)
Onkologiepflege Schweiz (Matthias Hellberg-Nägele, AFG Onkologiepflege APN)
Arbeitsgemeinschaft hämatologischer und onkologischer Pflegepersonen in Österreich (Harald Titzer)

Location of Data Selection
- Schweiz
- Österreich

2023 bis 2024

In Switzerland and Austria, around 45,000 resp. 42’000 new cases with cancer are diagnosed every year. An increase of people diagnosed with cancer (>35%) has been estimated, where close to half-million people with cancer will be observed by 2030 in these countries. In addition, oncology patients have complex care needs and are particularly vulnerable to adverse events. This is mainly due to the complexity of their cancer disease, the quantity of drugs prescribed, as well as the invasive/intensive treatments requiring substantial increase in clinical visits and increased side-effects due to intensive treatment regimens. In order to ensure patient safety and quality of care for them, the oncology nursing workforce is a key player. Usually, oncology nurses have a specialized training in order to provide the best possible care and patient outcomes.
The scarcity of data on oncology nurses has been an obstacle to address the aforementioned challenges. Additionally, specific factors influencing the retention of experienced oncology nurses are unknown. In 2019, a survey in Germany was conducted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hämatologie und Medizinische Onkologie (DGHO) for oncology nurses, which provided new insights. Nevertheless, no such data exist in Switzerland and Austria. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of the oncology nursing workforce in these countries is necessary, as well as a comparison with the German’s data from 2019.

The aims of the project are:

  • To adapt the DGHO questionnaire from Germany to the Swiss and Austrian context about nurse staffing in oncology (French and German version)
  • To analyze and summarize the results about the current situation of nurse staffing in oncology in Switzerland and Austria
  • To present and discuss the results with stakeholders in the respective countries
  • To discuss the potential consequences or possible changes on the policy-level for Austria and Switzerland

Expected Benefit / Relevance
For the first time in Switzerland and Austria, our study will provide a detailed insight on the oncological nurse workforce. Such knowledge will allow to get demographical information of oncology nurses (e.g. qualification, experience, age, …), to describe the work of oncology nurses (e.g. activities, overtime), to calculate patient-to-nurse ratios, a better understanding of the working environment (e.g. leadership, possibility for development, relationship with physicians). Furthermore, the data will provide a baseline for discussing potential solutions with important stakeholders from the clinical management and policy-level to bring issues rooted in the shortage of nurses.Click or tap here to enter text.