Cancer Nursing Research Unit (CNRU)

Cancer Research Unit

Keith Cox OAM, Nurse Practitioner specialising in cancer nursing

This unit, established in 2010 and offically launched in May 2011, is located at the Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Partly funded by the Cancer Institute NSW, the Cancer Nursing Research Unit is a consortium of Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney and the Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH). This brings together Sydney Nursing School's strength in cancer and palliative care research and the Sydney Cancer Centre's reputation as a centre of excellence in clinical cancer care.

The Cancer Nursing Research Unit leads research in cancer and supportive care and supports cancer and palliative care nurses across NSW to develop their research capacity and skills.

Professor Kate White was appointed Professor of Cancer Nursing, which is NSW's first Academic Chair in Cancer Nursing, established by the Cancer Institute NSW.

The CNRU conducts its research activities under four broad themes:

  • Supportive care
  • Psychosocial and quality of life
  • Models of health care delivery
  • Improving research capacity and skills for cancer and palliative care nurses

Current research interests and activities in supportive care include:

  • patient-reported outcome measures
  • management and assessment of cutaneous toxicities associated with epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor treatment
  • nutrition and physical functioning during gynaecological cancer.

Work in the Psychosocial and quality of life theme have focused on:

  • the development of nursing roles or nursing interventions, such as a nurse-led education intervention on body image and sexuality for women with breast cancer
  • a nursing intervention for supportive parenting for women with breast cancer
  • rural health care models including developing a model of providing palliative care in small rural and remote communities.

Other areas of interest include:

  • fast tracking surgery for gynaecological cancer patients and providing cancer and palliative care in disadvantaged and homeless populations
  • the development of an evidence-based evaluation framework for nurse-sensitive outcomes and measures in cancer and palliative care and improve the uptake of evidence into practice in supportive care.

Professor Kate White

Professor Kate White


"Nurses are the largest professional group involved in cancer care. In NSW there are approximately 2000 cancer and palliative care nurses with high level expertise in coordinating and managing patient diagnosis, treatment and recovery in both acute care and community settings. Their specialised knowledge enables them to provide better care which ultimately improves patient outcomes."
   —-Professor Kate White

Through this role, Professor White aims to seize the opportunity to improve outcomes for patients and support all nurses to expand their knowledge of cancer care, and also to foster cancer nursing as a career of choice for new nursing graduates.