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Reaching nurses

Developing robust educational support for breast cancer specialist nurses

In many, if not most, areas of pharmaceutical marketing, nurses are growing rapidly in importance as a target group. This is particularly true in oncology, where cancer nurses act as key patient representatives within a multidisciplinary group and are therefore in a unique position to inform management decisions.

In recognition of this, Roche's breast cancer team decided to stage a major, two-day conference for breast cancer specialist nurses. This was to be the first significant cross-brand initiative for the breast cancer team and it was hoped that it would set a template for a broader long-term nurse-targeted programme, thereby delivering the vision: "For the nursing community in the UK to consider Roche as a leading provider of educational support and development in oncology, and to enhance/heighten the level of knowledge around Roche's breast brands".


Champions for Change logo
The conference was the first significant cross-brand initiative for the breast cancer team


The principal aims for the event were to:
• Consolidate and enhance Roche's reputation and relationship with breast oncology nurses
• Develop robust educational support for nurses around the Roche breast cancer portfolio
• Heighten cancer nurses' understanding of Roche breast oncology products and their role in current and future management
• Ensure that key messages and issues relevant to all breast oncology brands were communicated within the programme via influential and high quality speakers
• Achieve a recruitment target of 120 nurses
• Engage and involve nurse delegates by achieving maximum interactivity.

Desired outcomes were set and monitored using the devices of pre- and post- meeting surveys and keypads to track changes in awareness, attitude and/or practice throughout the programme.

Tactical implementation
Reflecting the need for nurses to act as vanguards in a climate of rapid change in oncology, the title 'Champions for Change' was chosen for this and future events.

Clear, attractive branding was developed, which served to foster among participating nurses the feeling of being involved in an initiative that was more far-reaching than just a single meeting.

The programme was developed in collaboration with an appointed steering group of 13 oncology nurses, thus promoting the slogan: 'Developed by nurses for nurses'. A list of initial programme ideas with suggested speakers was drawn up to satisfy the overall objectives of the event. Members of the steering group were then sent a preliminary email questionnaire to comment on the suggestions, and a follow-up teleconference was held to discuss the feedback, work up the programme and prioritise which speakers and potential chairs to invite.

In addition to a comprehensive clinical programme, a debate on the value (or otherwise) of the media in supporting the work of the breast cancer team was agreed, together with a full session of workshops providing non-clinical personal skills of direct relevance to the nursing role. Innovative logistical planning ensured that all delegates were able to attend the two workshops of their choice, with appropriate numbers for each.

To achieve maximum interactivity and involvement, high-end keypad technology was employed throughout the entire conference.

The final programme offered a well-balanced mix, comprising:
• A motivational introductory talk
• Presentations on current therapeutic options
• Explorations of horizon scanning and future opportunities
• Case presentations relevant to service planning and delivery
• A debate on the value of the media
• Non-clinical skills workshops

The quality, relevance and robustness of the final programme earned the event accreditation from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). Recruitment activity ended when 127 nurses were registered for the meeting. All but
one first-choice speaker agreed to participate, and a highly experienced and motivating chairperson was appointed.

At the start of the proceedings, all delegates were asked to note down their personal objectives for the meeting. Asked by the Chair at the end of the second day (via keypads) whether this objective had been achieved: 89 per cent voted 'yes', while the remaining 11 per cent stated 'somewhat'.

In addition, a comprehensive evaluation questionnaire was included in all delegate packs. As well as an average rating of just over four out of five for the level of improved understanding, 47 very positive comments were received, along with just five comments of a mildly critical nature.

A meeting of the steering group was held immediately following the conclusion of the event to look critically at how the success could be built on. This was further informed by delegate ratings for all speakers and the Chair.

The meeting was judged as being highly effective in providing genuine value to the target audience under the Roche banner, while disseminating key brand messages for Roche's breast cancer portfolio within an educational context to improve patient care. As hoped, it has served as a strongly branded template for future events.


Case study details

Client: Roche
Agency: Phase IV
Campaign: Champions for Change
Timescale: March 2007 to July 2007

4th February 2010


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