Registered Nurses under Tata Trusts' Cancer Care Programme to undergo a first-of-its-kind Nursing Fellowship Programme

  • Fellowship will upskill them
  • Will be free of cost for Nurses who are a part of the Trusts’ Cancer Care programme

Guwahati, October 13, 2020: Tata Trusts has launched a first-of-its-kind Nursing Fellowship Programme (NFP) to upskill Registered Nurses (RNs) as Oncology Specialist Nurses (OSNs). Nurses who join Tata Trusts’ Cancer Care programme, depending upon their competencies, will be eligible for the Fellowship. RNs, who are already a part of the Cancer Care Programme, are presently being covered by the Fellowship. This is being provided free of cost, with the aim of providing an opportunity for the Cancer Care Programme’s professional nurses to develop specialised knowledge, skills and experience in Oncology Nursing. The eleven month long programme will comprise of 144 hours of classroom training, and 2160 hours of clinical training along with concurrent assessments.

The Fellowship will enable the Programme’s Registered Nurses (RNs) to develop holistic skills in caring for patients undergoing treatments such as anti-cancer drug therapies, surgery, radiation therapy and palliative care. Each module has been designed to provide the RNs with specific competencies, enabling them to deliver evidence based high quality nursing care to patients diagnosed with various types of cancer. The nurses will also uniquely develop specific competencies required to participate in community prevention and early detection initiatives and providing appropriate education to patients and their family members based on the disease type, treatment and rehabilitation requirements.

A WHO report suggests that there is a need for human resources for healthcare in India, especially nurses, with the deficit being nearly 2 million. With the objective of making quality cancer care available and accessible to the people of the country, Tata Trusts is developing the largest cancer care network in partnership with like-minded State Governments and organisations. The specialised oncology fellowship programme will upskill the nurses to contribute to patient care, optimally.

“Nursing staff have maximum interface with the patients and caregivers during their visit and stay at the hospital. Nurses who are adept in handling patient queries, can immediately put the patient and the family at ease. As our hospitals are getting ready, a specialized comprehensive programme preparing the nurses to handle all aspects of cancer care came across as the best fit. We are positive that the NFP will make our nurses proficient in delivering quality care consistently,” said, Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, Chief Executive, Cancer Care Programme of Tata Trusts.

To begin with, the Nursing Fellowship has been introduced in Assam, where Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), an initiative of the Government of Assam and Tata Trusts, is at present, developing a network of 10 cancer care hospitals. Going forward, the programme will be introduced across Tata Trusts’ Cancer Care Programme Centres across India.

“Assam has one of the highest incidence of cancer in India. We are already working on developing cancer care infrastructure. The Nursing Fellowship Programme will meet our need for skilled oncology nurses, who are the mainstay for any successful healthcare programme. The first batch of NFP has already begun at Assam Cancer Care Foundation at Guwahati and has 11 incumbents,” added Dr. Sajal Sen, HOCS, ACCF.

Tata Trusts has been pioneers in developing cancer care infrastructure since 1942 with the establishment of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, and the more recently established Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, in 2011. Building on this heritage, and in a major programme to impact India’s health outcome, Tata Trusts is now engaged in partnering with state governments and other entities to establish cancer care facilities across the country. Known as the Distributed Cancer Care Model which seeks to take cancer care closest to where the patients are, to make treatment accessible and affordable, the infrastructure will comprise: Level 1 (L1) facilities, or apex centres, providing an entire gamut of oncology and allied services including research and academics; Level 2 (L2) facilities, which will provide comprehensive cancer treatment, diagnosis and management services; Level 3 (L3) facilities, adjacent to District Hospitals (DHs), providing services for basic diagnosis and day-care services like chemotherapy and radiation for cancer patients.  Community Outreach and Palliative Care services form the Level 4 (L4) of the Distributed Cancer Care Model.

As of now, a Level 1 (L1) facility Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre, has been set-up at Varanasi. Infrastructure and facilities have been enhanced for two L2 centres - The Indian Railway Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Varanasi (rechristened as Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital) and Meherbai Tata Memorial Hospital, Jamshedpur. To ensure access to high-quality cancer pathological diagnostic services to cancer patients across the country and to address the demand and supply gap of trained pathologists specialising in cancer diagnosis, Centre for Oncopathology (COP) has been set up in Mumbai.

The Trusts have partnered with the governments of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand and other like-minded organisations, to set up facilities or to upgrade existing infrastructure so that patients do not have to travel to cities far away incurring debilitating expenditures. To provide the ease of access to cancer patients for chemotherapy and radiotherapy facilities, Day Care Centres are being set-up at L2 cancer centre locations.

About Tata Trusts

Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropic organisation, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood, digital transformation, migration and urban habitat, social justice and inclusion, environment and energy, skill development, sports, and arts and culture. The Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country. For more information, please visit