The breastcare nurse primarily provides information, education, support and counselling services for women undergoing assessment, but is available to assist women at any stage of the screening process, if required.

All women participating in BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA) are entitled to services from the breastcare nurse which:

  • comply with legal, professional, ethical and other standards relevant to the profession of nursing, minimising any potential harm to and optimising the quality of life of that individual
  • are delivered in a professional manner consistent with the physical, psychological, spiritual and cultural needs of the individual.

The breastcare nurse works as a member of a multidisciplinary team in partnership with women, their whānau, to empower each woman to make informed choices and optimise her health and wellbeing.

The role of the breastcare nurse includes, but is not limited to:

  • empathetically providing support to women and their whānau
  • acting as advocate for the woman and her supporters
  • providing education and information with a particular emphasis on facilitating informed decision-making for women prior to attending assessment and after a diagnosis of cancer
  • promoting awareness of psychosocial issues of concern to well women participating in screening
  • referring women (where appropriate) to other support services
  • facilitating communication between other health professionals and services (particularly general practitioners/primary care providers) regarding the care of individual women
  • providing nursing support for clinicians during all stages of assessment
  • ensuring there are appropriate infection control protocols in place
  • facilitating appropriate handling and pathways for pathology specimens
  • facilitating access to clinical supplies for assessment days.


The role of a BSA breastcare nurse is undertaken by a registered nurse with a current practising certificate, a minimum of two years postgraduate work experience as a registered nurse and a strong commitment to the provision of a high standard of care.

The registered nurse will have demonstrated an understanding of and a commitment to meeting the National Policy & Quality Standards (NPQS).

Within the first year of employment the BSA nurse must have attended/or be attending a breastcare nurse course, where one is available. Where possible, the course should be accredited by the New Zealand Nursing Council.

Professional requirements

A full description of the professional requirements for breastcare nurses working the in the BSA programme is in criterion 8.14 of the BreastScreen Aotearoa National Policy and Quality Standards.

BreastScreen Aotearoa National Policy and Quality Standards