The potential of training specialist oncology nurses in real-life reporting of adverse drug reactions

M. Reumerman, J. Tichelaar, R. van Eekeren, E. P. van Puijenbroek, M. C. Richir, M. A. van Agtmael

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Specialist oncology nurses (SONs) have the potential to play a major role in monitoring and reporting adverse drug reactions (ADRs); and reduce the level of underreporting by current healthcare professionals. The aim of this study was to investigate the long term clinical and educational effects of real-life pharmacovigilance education intervention for SONs on ADR reporting. This prospective cohort study, with a 2-year follow-up, was carried out in the three postgraduate schools in the Netherlands. In one of the schools, the prescribing qualification course was expanded to include a lecture on pharmacovigilance, an ADR reporting assignment, and group discussion of self-reported ADRs (intervention). The clinical value of the intervention was assessed by analyzing the quantity and quality of ADR-reports sent to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Center Lareb, up to 2 years after the course and by evaluating the competences regarding pharmacovigilance of SONs annually. Eighty-eight SONs (78% of all SONs with a prescribing qualification in the Netherlands) were included. During the study, 82 ADRs were reported by the intervention group and 0 by the control group. This made the intervention group 105 times more likely to report an ADR after the course than an average nurse in the Netherlands. This is the first study to show a significant and relevant increase in the number of well-documented ADR reports after a single educational intervention. The real-life pharmacovigilance educational intervention also resulted in a long-term increase in pharmacovigilance competence. We recommend implementing real-life, context- and problem-based pharmacovigilance learning assignments in all healthcare curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1542
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean journal of clinical pharmacology
Issue number10
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Adverse drug reports
  • Clinical effects
  • Long term effects
  • Medical education
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Specialist oncology nurses

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