nurses are at the forefront of care delivery and are acutely aware of the factors which affect and influence care.
In the first ever study of its kind, researchers from the University
of Surrey with funding from the UK Oncology Nursing Society surveyed
cancer patients and nurses to help identify priorities for future
research into oncology nursing and how it should be delivered.
‘While cancer patients identified palliative care as top areas for future research, oncology nurses stressed on the use of eHealth and technology to manage cancer symptoms at home.’
During the study patients identified palliative and end-of-life care
as top areas for future examination with particular focus on models of
end-of-life care in the community and access to specialist palliative
care within oncology services.
The identification of this as a matter of importance for patients
suggests that improvements on how and when palliative care services are
introduced is required.
Those affected by cancer also classified cognitive changes
associated with cancer treatment as a priority for future research, as
such changes are not only distressing for the patient but their families
Unlike patients, oncology nurses placed importance on the use of
eHealth and technology to manage cancer symptoms at home as an area of
significance for future research. The identification of this priority
area shows that nurses are responsive to service changes in the
NHS and are increasingly using technology in the delivery of care.
Despite such differences, oncology nurses and patients were in
agreement in a number of areas on what should be on future research
agendas. Nurses and patients agreed that factors affecting the early
presentation of cancer symptoms should be a key area of future research.
This is in keeping with research in this area which shows that early
diagnosis of cancer is vital in improving cancer survival rates and
delivering effective care.
Both parties also identified the availability of psychosocial
support services across the cancer pathway and the management of anxiety
and uncertainty following cancer treatment, as future areas of
Professor Emma Ream from the University of Surrey said: "People
living with cancer provide a valuable contribution in informing research
agendas for oncology nursing and should have an input in future
"Our study demonstrates the importance of seeking the opinions of
cancer patients, as what they consider important may not mirror what the
profession considers a priority. Too often the voice of cancer patients
is unheard, but if services are to improve we should listen to the very
people they are affecting."
Richard Henry, President of UK Oncology Nursing Society said "UKONS is delighted to have been able to facilitate this study that
articulates this knowledge and understanding so succinctly whilst
acknowledging and embracing the patient perspective."