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07 Aug 2019
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2,000 new experts in the community

  • University of Melbourne
  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
  • Department of Health and Human Services

A Melbourne GP has just become the 2,000th person to join a 4-week online course to better help people living with or recovering from cancer. The course, Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care Practitioners was launched just over a year ago and is accessed on the FutureLearn platform as a MOOC – massive open online course.

MOOCs are generally free to access and because everything is online, learning can occur at a time and place which best suits the individual. With 2,000-plus students signing up for the course, there is clearly a desire from community healthcare professionals to stay up-to-date with leading-edge information in the cancer field.

MOOCs have been around for over a decade and have become an increasingly popular mode of learning. But according to key contributor, Professor Jon Emery, GP and Herman Professor of Primary Care Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne and Western Health, Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care Practitioners was the first of its kind.

“We identified an opportunity to do something slightly different in terms of delivering educational programs, so this is the very first MOOC in cancer survivorship for primary care,” says Professor Emery.

The course, which is available worldwide was developed in Melbourne as a collaboration between the Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Developments in cancer therapies and new models of care mean there is a lot of information to know. The course covers a wide range of topics from detection of cancer recurrence and reducing its risk, through to psychosocial aspects of cancer survivorship and broader issues of self-management for patients. It also explores the role of allied health professionals and new models of shared care between GPs and cancer centres.

“The care plans are a great tool and will standardise and provide a framework for a structured approach both long and short term, says GP Kerrie. “I was very interested in the different aspects of targeted management of immunotherapy and found the module around supporting return-to-work very helpful.”

“I am a psychologist providing support to cancer patients. From this course, I’ve gained new tools that will help me better support my patients. In addition, I want to create a course for those patients who are in remission. Now in our country there are no such programs.”

Enrolments are open for the next course which commences in September 2019. Participants will receive a certificate of participation; continuing professional development (CPD) points will be available through the relevant colleges. 

The VCCC also presents occasional Saturday workshops on Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care Professionals. The next workshop on Saturday 7 September has limited places available for GPs, practice nurses and allied health professionals in the community.