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Oncology Nurses' Perspectives on the State of Cancer Survivorship Care: Current Practice and Barriers to Implementation

Margaret Irwin
Jennifer R. Klemp
Catherine Glennon
Linda M. Frazier
ONF 2011, 38(1), E11-E19 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E11-E19

Purpose/Objectives: To describe current survivorship care from the perspectives of oncology nurses.

Design: Descriptive.

Setting: E-mail invitation to Web-based survey.

Sample: 399 Oncology Nursing Society members providing care for patients initially treated more than one year previously.

Methods: An online survey was used to evaluate current aspects of survivorship care.

Main Research Variables: Practice settings, services provided, and barriers to delivering survivorship care.

Findings: Few nurses (27%) worked in settings with a formal survivorship program. Several program components were provided significantly more often in outpatient settings, pediatric facilities, and workplaces with a formal survivorship program. At the transition from acute to follow-up care, the survivorship nursing care provided most often was scheduling for ongoing monitoring (71%) and the least likely was assistance for employment or legal issues (16%). The greatest barriers to providing survivorship care were lack of time and funding (46%). Among nurses new to oncology (fewer than five years), 49% indicated they lacked sufficient knowledge compared to 36% of nurses with more than five years of oncology experience.

Conclusions: Findings describe current aspects of survivorship care across practice settings. Nurses reported that the greatest barriers are lack of time, funding, and lack of knowledge about survivorship issues.

Implications for Nursing: A need exists for education to enhance knowledge and skills of nurses who will provide survivorship care. Research is warranted to develop empirically supported guidelines and care-delivery models that address the barriers to providing survivorship services.

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