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Impact of a Pivot Nurse in Oncology on Patients With Lung or Breast Cancer: Symptom Distress, Fatigue, Quality of Life, and Use of Healthcare Resources

Myriam Skrutkowski
Andréanne Saucier
Margaret Eades
Marika Swidzinski
Judith Ritchie
Caroline Marchionni
Martin Ladouceur
ONF 2008, 35(6), 948-954 DOI: 10.1188/08.ONF.948-954

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the impact on continuity of nursing care delivered by a pivot nurse in oncology to improve symptom relief and outcomes for patients with lung or breast cancer.

Design: Randomized controlled trial in which participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 93) with care by a pivot nurse in oncology and usual care by clinic nurses or to a control group (n = 97) with usual care only.

Setting: Three outpatient ambulatory oncology clinics in a large university health center in Quebec, Canada.

Sample: 113 patients with lung cancer and 77 patients with breast cancer.

Methods: Participants in both groups completed the Symptom Distress Scale, Brief Fatigue Inventory, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Scale-General version 4 at eight intervals over six months. Healthcare usage was evaluated through a review of hospital records.

Main Research Variables: Symptom distress, fatigue level, quality of life, and healthcare usage.

Findings: Researchers found no significant differences in symptom distress, fatigue, quality of life, and healthcare usage between groups.

Conclusions: The new nursing role did not have an impact on the patient outcomes under study.

Implications for Nursing: Experienced nurses with specialized knowledge of oncology symptom assessment and management may reduce the symptom burden experienced by ambulatory patients with breast or lung cancer during active treatment.

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