Professional Development

The AYA Cancer Network aims to support health professionals and other support providers working with young people with cancer. In this section you will find information on education and professional development opportunities available to you. If you know of any other opportunities please send details of these to


Click on the below headings for more:

We have 3x $1000 scholarships to give away for health professionals to undertake courses at Auckland University for Youth Health and Clinical Care of AYAs with Cancer!

Click the link below for the advertisement poster and read more about the courses below.

View 2023 Scholarships Poster 

Adolescents and young adults (12-24) with cancer present a unique set of challenges for health professionals.
They have distinct physical, psychological and developmental needs that are significantly different from those of children or those of adults. Health professionals working with adolescents and young adults need special skills and understanding in order to maximise outcomes for this patient population.

The University of Auckland offers the opportunity for you to develop and advance your knowledge, skills and expertise in this area.
Why not become a clinical care champion for adolescents and young adults with cancer within your service?

There are two main avenues for study:

  1. You can enrol for a Postgraduate certificate; or
  2. Diploma in Health Sciences specialising in youth health.

Courses offered at the School of Population Health in a flexible learning format.
A full outline of the programme and courses can be found on the university website, or here:

Or, if you are currently enrolled in a programme of specialist study, you can include the below papers as a 30 point combined course into your programme. Please note PAEDS712 is a pre requisite for PAEDS721 so either needs to be taken before or at the same time as PAEDS721.

PAEDS 712 – Youth Clinical Skills – 15 points: This course gives health professionals the core generic skills and knowledge essential for working with young people in any health care setting. The course develops and extends knowledge and skills in clinical interviewing, comprehensive assessment and effective intervention with adolescents and young adults

PAEDS 721 – AYA Cancer Care Practicum – 15 points: This course builds on the generic knowledge and skills taught in PAEDS 712 while providing advanced knowledge and skills in AYA cancer care in areas such as transitional care, survivorship, biology and treatment during adolescent and young adult years, consent and ethical issues, and adherence strategies for the adolescent and young adult.

For more information, enrolment details or assistance in planning your course of study, please feel free to contact either:

Ms Heidi Watson, Course Coordinator – 021 337 129 or  or

Ms Bridget Farrant, Course Director –

For other online courses, workshops and trainings check out our Professional Development page:

Global Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Congress

The 4th Annual Global Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Congress is occurring on Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd December 2021, and will be held online for the first time ever.

Click here for more information/ registration

Youth Cancer Services Leadership Development Programme 2022

Canteen Australia in partnership with the AYA Cancer Network Aotearoa is generously offering two scholarships to participate in the Youth Cancer Services Leadership Development Programme commencing May 2022. 

The scholarships are available to any health professional working in a cancer setting in New Zealand with an interest in AYA cancer care.

Click here for more information/ registration

‘The Monthly Drip’: Teen Cancer America

The Monthly Drip is a monthly webinar hosted by Teen Cancer America to provide current education on AYA related topics for healthcare professionals. This is an opportunity to share expertise, current research, AYA program development with an aim to impact the AYA community at large.

Click here for more information/ registration


Free online courses available to professionals and support providers working with young people with cancer.


Whāraurau provides national training and workforce development within the child and adolescent mental health sector. They provide online training and study days as well as comprehensive elearning modules for clinicians.

Two recommended elearning modules for clinical providers in AYA care include ‘foundations in Youth Health’ and ‘HEEADSSS assessments’ modules. Both modules provide a comprehensive over view of the skills, knowledge and competencies required to deliver effective youth health.

The short courses provides an introduction to the HEEADSSS assessment framework and other key information to support professionals working with young people.

Click here for the HEEADSSS eLearning Module 

Click here for the Foundation in Youth Mental Health eLearning Module 

EviQ Online Education

To access either courses: Once you have clicked on the link type in the search bar ‘young’ to find these courses.

A free 1.5hr Australian online eLearning course to advance primary care knowledge and skills in the delivery of cancer care for young people.

Click here to take the course

A free 2hr Australian online eLearning course developed for Registered Nurses but relevant to many health professionals wanting to develop their knowledge and skills in AYA cancer care

Click here to take the course

Health Learn

This course provides AYA Cancer Health Learn packages. This is available for Southern and Canterbury regions.

Click here for more information


A blended online learning programme – Developed by Hospice NZ
The fundamentals of Palliative Care programme is designed for any healthcare worker, registered and non-registered staff caring for adults with palliative care needed. Being educated about palliative care will help you improve the assessment and outcomes for people in your care, their family/ whānau, as well as yourself and other healthcare workers.
You can study palliative care in Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences or Diploma in Health Sciences or Diploma in Health Sciences in Palliative Care.
Areas of study include:
  • Assessment and management of symptoms
  • Child and adolescent palliative care
  • Cultural issues in end-of-life-care
  • Ethics in end-of-life care
  • Ethics in end-of-life decision-making
  • Holistic management of care philosophy
  • Societal attitudes to death and dying
  • Spirituality, loss grief and bereavement and many more topics particular to palliative care

The courses also recognise ‘self-care’ as important for the team caring for people with life-challenging illness. 

Courses in this subject are offered in both distance and flexible-learning formats.

For course information:

Kidz First The Centre for Youth Health, Youth Health Workshops for 2022

Workshops provide practical programmes to enhance professional skills when working with young people in clinical and community settings.

Click here for 2022 Workshop / Booking Details

Click here for more information


Whāraurau provides national training and workforce development within the child and adolescent mental health sector. They provide online training and study days as well as comprehensive elearning modules for clinicians.

Click here for more information

The Collaborative Trust for Research and Training in Youth Health & Development – Training

The Collaborative Trust provides training through their workshops which can range from an hour to a whole day. They are interactive and involve young people as Youth Tutors. The topics are relevant to practice and the issues that young people have.

Click here for more information

Involve 2023: National Youth Health and Development Confrence

INVOLVE is a multi-day conference that runs every two years coming back in 2023.

Their aim to gather as many people together to ensure that the sector works cooperatively and cohesively. It is the vision that INVOLVE acts as a meeting place for the entire sector for anyone who works with or for young people – to gather, share and learn and to see the taiohi of Aotearoa thrive. 

Click here for more information


KnowPYD aims to connect people who work with rangatahi in Aotearoa to online training opportunities. Online webinars and training’s focus on positive youth development strategies. See the link for further information:

Click here for more information


Whatever your commute is into work, AYA podcasts can be a great way to fill this time. The following podcast are based on either AYA professional development or from the voice of AYA patients. Podcast are available on multiple platforms from spotify, the app store or google play. 

GoodFellow Podcasts

  • A HEEADSSS assessment in 5 minutes: Dame Sue Bagshaw discusses how she uses this framework as an effective communication tool when in clinic with young people. She discusses her tips on completing an adolescent HEEADSSS assessment in a short period of time.

         Click here to listen 

  • Having conversations with AYA about Sex: Cathy Stephenson discusses how to have conversations with our younger patients about sex. Topics include information on safe sexual practices, sexually transmitted infections in teens, sexuality and gender identity and much more.

         Click here to listen 

  • AYA Brain Development: Dame Sue Bagshaw discusses teenage brain development and its influences – what this means for clinicians – and how to optimise your communication to maximise your consult with the teenage patient.

          Click here to listen 

The Stupid Cancer Show

An award-winning talk radio show serving as the voice of young adult cancer. Hosted by an AYA survivor, each episode tackles hard-hitting, real-world issues ranging from politics, health care, legislative advocacy, civil liberties, and the environment to social media, entertainment, cancer research, and medical education. Stupid Cancer’s mission is to empower everyone affected by adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer by ending isolation and building community by providing age-appropriate resources to help AYA’s navigate treatment and survivorship.

For more information click here 

Click here to listen 

Project Oncology

Project Oncology presents a wide array of oncology topics designed to educate and enlighten practitioners on late-breaking discoveries, novel treatment options, evolving methods of patient management, and more. This series provides cutting-edge updates on cancer biology, diagnosis, and multidisciplinary management, as well as evidence-based recommendations to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

Click here to listen

Journal of Clinical Oncology Podcasts

This podcast features discussions of new and noteworthy results published in ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology and how they impact clinical practice and research.

Click here to listen

AYA Cancer Network Webinars

The AYA Cancer Network is excited to be hosting a range of experts in our new webinar series. Topics will be across the spectrum of oncology and available and relevant for health care professionals from primary and community health right through to tertiary settings. Follow the link for more. 

AYA Webinar Series

Child Cancer Network Webinars

The Child Cancer Network has paired with experts across the spectrum of child and adolescent oncology to deliver webinars run by experts on grief, nutrition, mental well being and more. 

Click here for links to the online webinars

Probably 80-90% of these issues could be dealt with by improving consistency - putting in place effective processes and structures - AYA Advisory Committee Member

Heidi Watson

The Clinical Leader is responsible for providing clinical leadership and national oversight of the network .

Heidi is a passionate and experienced health professional with a strong clinical, education and leadership background. Her enthusiasm for, and commitment to youth health has focused on improving the outcomes of youth with cancer and chronic health conditions. Previously, Heidi held the position of AYA Cancer Nurse Specialist for Auckland District Health Board. Alongside her AYA clinical leadership role she holds a youth health academic position at the University of Auckland.