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Open Access Article

A Needs Assessment of Oncology Nurses' Perceptions of National Cancer Institute-Supported Clinical Trial Networks

Ann O'Mara
Susan Bauer-Wu
Donna Berry
Linda Lillington
ONF 2007, 34(2), E23-E27 DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.E23-E27

Purpose/Objectives: To describe oncology nurses' understandings of the function and infrastructure of, current level of participation in, and advantages and disadvantages to conducting research through cancer cooperative groups (CCGs).

Design: Descriptive.

Setting: Cross-sectional, Web-based needs assessment.

Sample: Doctorally prepared Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) members (n = 962), ONS Clinical Trial Nurses Special Interest Group members (n = 568), and a random sample of master's-prepared ONS members (n = 2,000) for a total of 3,530 ONS members.

Methods: A 28-item questionnaire was distributed via e-mail.

Main Research Variables: Familiarity with different cooperative groups, understanding about their functions and infrastructures, and perceived advantages and disadvantages of and barriers to conducting research through cooperative groups.

Findings: Fifty-four percent of respondents reported being very familiar with cooperative groups, and 19% reported having no knowledge about their functions and infrastructures. Attending meetings and enrolling patients were the most frequently cited activities. Limited funding and time, lack of opportunities, perception that CCGs are too political, and lack of receptivity for nursing research were identified as barriers to conducting research within cooperative groups.

Conclusions: ONS members' self-described roles correlated to their participation in CCGs. Of respondents who had the education and qualifications with which to lead clinical trials as principal investigators, few reported successful collaborations with conducting research through CCGs.

Implications for Nursing: Although respondents reported more advantages than disadvantages to conducting research through CCGs, they did not report a high level of involvement, such as taking the lead in conducting research. Respondents expressed interest in learning more about conducting research within cooperative groups.