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Patient Preferences Concerning Treatment Plans, Survivorship Care Plans, Education, and Support Services

Tiffany J. Marbach
Julie Griffie
ONF 2011, 38(3), 335-342 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.335-342

Purpose/Objectives: To examine patient preferences for content and methods of delivering treatment plans, educational information, and survivorship care plans.

Research Approach: Thematic analysis of four tape-recorded focus groups of cancer survivors.

Setting: An outpatient clinical cancer center in an academic medical center in the midwestern United States.

Participants: 40 cancer survivors who had completed initial treatment. Participants were grouped by disease site: (a) prostate, genitourinary, and skin; (b) breast and gynecologic; (c) gastrointestinal, sarcoma, and head and neck; and (d) brain, pancreas, and lung.

Methodologic Approach: An exploratory, descriptive approach with in-depth focus group thematic and comparative analysis methodology. The data are grouped into four major, interconnected themes.

Main Research Variables: Survivors' personal experiences with receiving cancer treatment.

Findings: Four categories were agreed on using thematic analysis: educational information, treatment plan, survivorship care plan, and patient support. Themes were identified within each category.

Conclusions: The number of cancer survivors continues to grow each year. Approaching each survivor with individualized educational information, an initial treatment plan, a survivorship care plan, and emotional support is imperative. Oncology nurses must assess cancer survivors for their unique needs and intervene accordingly.

Interpretation: Because oncology nurses assess and recognize the learning needs of each patient, they are best positioned to develop teaching content, strategies, and timing of interventions. The importance of written educational materials cannot be negated. Oncology nurses also are well positioned to provide a proactive role in the development and delivery of treatment and survivorship plans of care.

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