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This survey of the specialist nursing workforce caring for men with prostate cancer was completed across the four countries of the UK during June and July 2014. In total 302 specialist nurses working with men affected by prostate cancer completed the survey and data from 285 was used in the analysis. This is the biggest whole population survey of this workforce in recent years.

The most common job title was Clinical Nurse Specialist (185) and the most common band was Agenda for Change band seven (174). However in Scotland 50% of the respondents stated that they were paid on band six. Over half the group (158) had worked in prostate cancer care for more than 10 years. Few (48) had come into specialist posts from a specific specialist nurse development role.

Key results

The workforce is ageing

  • The workforce is ageing and nurses caring for patients with prostate cancer are no exception. 49% (140) of nurses declared that they are eligible for retirement or intending to leave the profession within the next 10 years.

Insufficient and variable prostate cancer nursing provision

  • The majority of posts were full time (189), however the range of time spent working with prostate cancer patients was variable. Only 23 posts spent 100% of their time caring for men with prostate cancer. 35 nurses spent less than 30% of their time caring for men with prostate cancer, offering some specific services such as continence or erectile dysfunction services, or because no uro-oncology post was available.

High case loads

  • 52 nurses (18%) had a caseload of greater than 600. The most common response was those with a caseload of 600 plus.

Lack of administrative support

  • About 65% of respondents said they had no administrative support per week or support for clinic letters only. Of these responses, about 86% declared that they work unpaid overtime with about 36% declaring that they work at least four hours overtime per week.

Lack of development posts for next generation workforce

  • Only 48 of 285 nurses (17%) stated they came in to specialist nursing through a development role.