Establishing Priorities for Oncology Nursing Research: Nurse and Patient Collaboration

Anna Cox

Anne Arber

Ann Gallagher

Mairead MacKenzie

Emma Ream

research priorities, oncology nurses, patients, Delphi technique
ONF 2017, 44(2), 192-203. DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.192-203

Purpose/Objectives: To obtain consensus on priorities for oncology nursing research in the United Kingdom.

Design: A three-round online Delphi survey.

Setting: Oncology nurses were invited via the United Kingdom Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) database. Patient participation was invited through patient organizations.

Sample: 50 oncology nurses and 18 patients.

Methods: Eligible and consenting individuals reported five priorities for oncology nursing research (round 1), rated their level of agreement with them (round 2), and restated and revised their responses in light of the group’s responses (round 3). Consensus was defined as 80% agreement.

Main Research Variables: Research priorities for oncology nursing as reported by oncology nurses and patients.

Findings: Consensus was reached on 50 of 107 research priorities. These priorities reflected the entire cancer pathway, from diagnosis to palliative care. Highest agreement was reached within and across groups on the need for research relating to prevention, screening, early diagnosis, and psychological care across the cancer trajectory. Little consensus was reached regarding symptoms and side effects. Some evident divergence existed: Only patients reached consensus regarding palliative care research, and only nurses reached consensus regarding eHealth and technology research.

Conclusions: Oncology nurses and patients do not necessarily prioritize the same research areas. Prevention, screening, and early diagnosis are of the highest priority for future research among oncology nurses and patients.

Implications for Nursing: Patients usually play little part in priority setting for research. This study provided the opportunity for meaningful patient and nurse involvement in setting a research agenda for oncology nursing that is relevant and beneficial to oncology nurses and patients.

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