Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nurses and Cancer Treatment

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has issued a report on improving the quality of oncology care through patient-centered treatment planning. Marie Bakitas, APRN, DNSc, AOCN, FAAN, associate professor of anesthesiology at Dartmouth Medical School, noted that a systematic review of 46 studies found that nurses are prominent information providers for cancer patients, especially after the initiation of treatment.

Click here to learn more about the report.

Indicative of the role nurses serve in providing care to cancer patients is the work conducted by an INQRI team at the University of Utah.  Led by Susan Beck, this interdisciplinary team has designed a robust measure to assess adult patients’ opinions about how nurses manage cancer-related pain.  Although nurses are the frontline providers of pain management in hospitals, pain goes unrelieved which affects patient outcomes, length of stay and costs a great deal. Beck and her team developed an instrument using qualitative and quantitative data to elicit patients’ opinions about how their nurses and other members of their care team managed their pain and, ultimately, to help patients select hospitals based on this dimension of their care experience. For example, the surveys asked patients whether nurses believed them when they said they were in pain and evaluated whether the team involved patients in decisions about their pain management. The Pain-CQ survey tools will let patients rate their experiences and help hospital administrators and policymakers who want to improve the care provided by nurses and other health team members. The initial tool was developed with the help of cancer patients. The tool is now being tested at a Veterans Administration hospital with patients who have a number of different diagnoses. The research may eventually spark the creation of a nurse-performance measure related to pain management.

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