MSc / PGDip / PGCert
Students fulfilling the required criteria within the MSc and PGDip courses can qualify for the NMC Specialist Practitioner Award.
The MSc in Cancer Care course, offered by Oxford Brookes, is a multi-professional and practice focused course that welcomes UK, EU and international applicants who want to study cancer care at an advanced level. The course is open to a wide range of practitioners and will be of interest to nurses, therapists and others working with people with cancer. The course aims to enhance the quality of care you provide to patients and their families as an expert practitioner and your skills as a manager and/or leader in your chosen area of care. Cancer research is a key focus within the School and it has the prestigious HRH Prince Sultan Chair in Supportive Cancer Care. This is a very exciting addition to our research portfolio, as it enables us to play a leading role in research development and education to improve the experience of patients undergoing cancer treatment and palliative care.
The patient diagnosed with cancer needs to be supported through all phases of the disease from the point of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, and to recovery, or to the transition to palliative care. This course is specifically designed to enable any health and social care professional who work with patients with cancer to develop the specialist knowledge and skills required to practice effectively during these phases of an individual’s cancer experience. It achieves this by:
* developing evidence-based expertise and exemplary practice in the field of cancer care
* promoting collaboration and leadership within the inter-professional team
* promoting leadership in cancer care research and practice development
* promoting care that is responsive to the social, cultural and political context of care, and which promotes social inclusion
* encouraging the development of self-awareness, reflective skills and a commitment to continued learning.
The course is founded on the belief that the experience of cancer is a unique personal journey, and that health care should focus on each individual's changing needs, experiences and personal priorities. This framework enables you to develop a critical understanding of cancer care within your practice area.
The PGCert in Cancer Care comprises three modules and the PGDip comprises six modules. The PGDip incorporates the NMC Specialist Practitioner Award. The MSc course follows the same pattern as the PGDip, plus a triple-module dissertation of 20,000 words.
There is one compulsory module:
* Advancing Professional Practice enables you to develop your practice of cancer care towards an advanced level. This is achieved through peer-supported reflection and enquiry within the framework of current research, practice and policy, illustrating this process through the development of a portfolio of work.
You must also choose two of the following three modules (regardless of which award exit point you have chosen):
1. The Experience of Life-Threatening Illness focuses on the experience of people with life-threatening illness, with a primary focus on cancer. It explores ways of understanding the experience of another person, drawing on research methods, personal accounts and the arts, and incorporating social attitudes.
2. Advanced Communication and Supportive Relationships explores verbal and non-verbal communication and the development of therapeutic relationships within the context of life-threatening illness. It builds on existing skills and develops them within your own area of practice.
3. Assessment and Symptom Management explores the development of assessment skills and the management of distressing symptoms in the context of life-threatening illness. This is explored within the context of your own practice and with an awareness of the inter-professional context of health care.
For the PGDip, you must also study Advanced Research Design, plus two additional elective modules. This module prepares you to design and conduct research. It focuses on helping you to understand the relationship between methodology and method, and the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of research.
To gain the MSc, you must also pass the Dissertation (in Cancer Care). This allows you to research an aspect of cancer care in depth, and to study a particular research design. An important aspect of writing the dissertation is the investigation of focused research questions in a systematic and rigorous way.
The elective modules you choose may be taken from a wide range within the postgraduate health and social care course portfolio.
Teaching, learning and assessment
The teaching team supporting this course are all expert practitioners in cancer care across the lifespan. They all maintain close links with the clinical and community settings that deliver cancer care, many of which have national and international reputations for practice excellence in these fields. They maintain close links with the Thames Valley Cancer Network and subsidiary groups such as the TVCN Users’ Group. The team also have specific expertise in cancer treatments, cytotoxic chemotherapy and psycho-oncology. This expertise and the links they maintain with colleagues and researchers in cancer care ensure that the reality of practice and the development of practice innovations are firmly embedded in the curriculum.
The cancer care course encourages the use of critical reflection as a personal, interpersonal and group process. You will experience a variety of learning activities, including seminars, discussions, and group tutorials, providing you with opportunities to learn from academic staff and from your fellow students.
Assessment is based on a developmental process of acquiring, modifying and refining skills and knowledge during each module. Learning contracts are used to identify your learning needs and a variety of methods of assessment are used, including written assignments, poster presentations, portfolios and self-assessment. Your practice skills will also be assessed, demonstrating your ability to critically reflect on and develop practice in line with current professional standards.
All our courses adopt a student centred approach to teaching and learning and are strongly focussed on encouraging each individual to attain their full potential as life-long learners. Oxford Brookes offers a range of student support schemes such as Upgrade (academic skills development support). There is also a dedicated Student Disability Service, which provides support for students with disabilities including sensory and mobility impairments, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties.
Maintaining life-long learning is critical to practitioners in health or social care. If you are to a be an effective evidence-based practitioner, it is important to ensure that you are always up-to-date and have the appropriate knowledge and skills to deliver quality care and support to patients and their families. Undertaking a postgraduate programme offers you the scope to gain the advanced knowledge and skills you will need for specialist or consultancy roles or to lead the management and development of services. Cancer services offers a wide range of opportunities to practitioners, managers, researchers and educationalists in this field of care and many of our students have gone on to take up senior roles in Cancer Care following their successful completion of the course.
The report of the QAA Major Review 1 (Health Visiting, Nursing, Midwifery and Operating Department Practice programmes) in October 2005 was overwhelmingly positive and revealed high levels of confidence in all the areas reviewed.