Building competency in hematopoietic stem cell transplant coordination: Evaluating the effectiveness of a learning pathway for nurses new to this role

Cheryl Page, Charissa Cordon, Jiahui Wong


There has been an increased need for highly skilled nursing staff trained in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) care driven by the increase in transplant eligible patients (CCO, 2017). There is a lack of literature pertaining to orientation to HSCT coordination, a highly specialized nursing role. Historically, orientation to HSCT coordination has been preceptor based without a formal orientation process. 

Objectives: For this pilot study, a learning pathway and educational tools were developed and evaluated to support a standardized and systematic approach to the staff education and to improve quality of care.

Methods: Eight nurses new to HSCT coordination participated in this study and completed the follow-up evaluations. Nurses were assessed before the intervention to identify knowledge gaps for each sub-role of allogeneic and autologous stem cell coordination. Following the assessment, nurses received a tailored self-directed learning package mapped to a learning pathway and a competency evaluation tool. A competency-based “building-block” training approach was used in which a new skill was added only after a previous skill was mastered. Utilizing the Kirkpatrick (2006) model, nurses were evaluated pre- and postorientation to assess changes in both knowledge and in behaviour relating to transplant coordination.

Results: Participants reacted favourably to these tools and reported a significantly higher level of knowledge and competency in the transplant coordination role following orientation. Further research on the use of a learning pathway to guide the orientation of nurses to the HSCT coordination role would complement this pilot study.

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