It’s Just another Stage of Development


For CTRs it has been an eventful and possibly overwhelming few months. During a recent conversation with a physician about the new 8th Edition requirements for AJCC staging, I was reminded that this is just another Stage in our growth and development as oncology data management professionals. Pardon the pun, but I think this is a very positive way to frame these past months of educational experiences.

As with any other profession, we travel through stages of development: novice, qualified, advanced and expert. Have you asked yourself ‘where am I now’? I asked this question of several CTRs with varying responses. One of which was, “How would I know?”

For our profession it is difficult to quantify as we may excel in one or more aspects of oncology data management while be a novice in others. So I took the liberty of creating a modified scale to define the Stages of an Oncology Data Management professional’s career.

Stage 0: You are confined and encapsulated in the basic responsibilities of a CTR. At this stage you are newly certified and may not know your strengths and weaknesses. There are times when you are performing like a superstar in the confinement of your hospital registry and others when you are confused and perhaps curious about what the future holds.

Stage I: You are localized within your facility and/or state registry. You know your strengths and weaknesses and readily address your needs with education and experience. You have claimed a career path and are excelling at your current responsibilities. You are leaving yourself open to the possibility of expanding to new roles, responsibilities or experiences within the cancer registry.

Stage II: You are considering spreading your wings to becoming regionally involved. You are presenting at state, regional or national meetings. You are involved in NCRA, NAACCR and/or State Registry Associations. Perhaps you volunteer as a mentor and spread your knowledge and experience with others in the field.

Stage III: Your career has become regional. You have ventured out into Cancer Registry adjacent opportunities with the possibility of spreading to other sites.

* Work with software vendors

* Become QOPI trained and operational with organization QA practices

* Collect clinical trial data

Stage IV: Your career has moved beyond the registry. You have moved into other areas of oncology administrative services and might have become more involved with clinical services.

* An Accreditation Specialist

* Clinical Trials Coordinator

* Oncology Department Manager

* Oncology Department Clinical Services QA/PI Specialist

Whatever Stage we are in our career, as professionals, I know we are committed to the mission, values and ethics of being a Certified Tumor Registrar and that takes Center Stage!


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