Lung cancer remains a leading cause of death, and nurses specialising in this area play a critical role in patient care. However, securing funding for a new Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) position requires a persuasive business case. 

Based on the presentation ‘Funding Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist’ by Sara McLaughlin-Barrett​ from TOGA’s ASM in 2021, this article will equip you, a lung cancer nurse, to develop a strong business case that highlights the value a CNS position can brings to your organisation.

The Need for a Lung Cancer CNS

The landscape of lung cancer treatment is evolving. Advancements are leading to longer lifespans for patients, which translates to a growing patient population and increased demands on healthcare services.  This creates a burden on existing resources.

Lung cancer patients often experience the highest number of unmet needs, and studies show underutilisation of support services. A dedicated CNS can bridge this gap.

Crafting a Compelling Case

A successful business case hinges on five key elements:

1. Summary Statement and Introduction

Briefly explain the problem and set the scene for the business case. In this scenario, the problem is the lack of a Lung Cancer CNS, and the opportunity a new role presents. 

Highlight the advances in treatment – emphasise the growing number of lung cancer patients and the potential for improved care coordination, patient satisfaction, and adherence to best practices.

2. Business Need/Assessment 

In this section, delve deeper into the problem and its impact on your organisation. Gather data to support both the cause and effect of the problem.
Look for figures to show the number of lung cancer patients diagnosed and treated within your organisation, such as:

    • Annual lung cancer diagnoses and treatments within your organisation
    • Annual no. of new patients seen within rapid access clinic
    • Annual no. of inpatient admissions 
    • Annual no. of ED presentations 
    • Total number of thoracic surgeries 
    • Average LOS for lung cancer patient
    • Patient satisfaction accounts 

Highlight how these figures have increased and demonstrate the need for a Lung Cancer CNS. Include relevant studies and publications that show the positive impact of these specialists on patient experience, hospital admissions, and overall healthcare utilisation.

3. Benefits to be Delivered

Outline the benefits for both patients and the organisation:

    • Patient Benefits: Improved timeliness of care, continuity of care, reduced readmissions, and better overall patient experience.
    • Organisational Benefits: Cost-effectiveness through improved patient management and holistic care, decreased LOS, and alignment with strategic objectives.

Quantify these benefits whenever possible. Reference studies that demonstrate the positive impact of Lung Cancer CNS roles on time to diagnosis and treatment initiation.

4. Measuring Outcomes

Define how you will measure the success of the new CNS role.  Use the data you gathered in the ‘Business Need’ section as a baseline. Develop a table outlining key performance indicators (KPIs), such as:

    • Reduction in patient complaints
    • Decreased wait times for specialist appointments
    • Improved patient satisfaction scores

5. Recommendations and Budget

Detail the proposed CNS role, including the requested FTE (full-time equivalent) and annual costs. Be realistic but aim slightly higher than anticipated, allowing for negotiation.

Building Support

Before submitting your business case, garner support from key stakeholders across the organisation. Engage with the MDM team, diagnostic imaging, oncology units, surgical and radiotherapy units, patients, and ward staff. Their backing will be crucial for successful implementation of the new role.

By following these steps and presenting a clear, evidence-based case, you can increase your chances of securing funding for a vital Lung Cancer CNS position. This addition to your team can significantly improve patient care and optimise the delivery of lung cancer care within your organisation.

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