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Measuring Oncology Nurses' Psychosocial Care Practices and Needs: Results of an Oncology Nursing Society Psychosocial Survey

Tracy K. Gosselin
Rebecca Crane-Okada
Margaret Irwin
Carol Tringali
Jennifer Wenzel
ONF 2011, 38(6), 729-737 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.729-737

Purpose/Objectives: To develop and implement a survey of Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) members focused on their current practices and needs in relation to providing psychosocial care.

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional.

Setting: Web-based survey of ONS members.

Sample: An invitation was e-mailed to 11,171 ONS members. Of those, 623 followed the link to the electronic survey and 64% of those (n = 401) completed the survey.

Methods: An ONS Psychosocial Project Team was convened in 2009. One of the team's goals was to develop a survey to assess members' needs. The final survey consisted of 24 items, including five items related to demographic characteristics. Response formats included Likert-type scale, yes and no, and open-ended questions.

Main Research Variables: Psychosocial care practices, education, and research.

Findings: Psychosocial concerns are assessed using a variety of methods. Nurse perceptions regarding primary responsibility for providing psychosocial services differ by group. Barriers to the provision of psychosocial care exist at the individual, institutional, and community levels.

Conclusions: Although nurses assess patients' psychosocial needs, multiple barriers still exist related to interdisciplinary communication; knowledge of the Institute of Medicine's recommendations; and resources at the individual, institutional, and community levels.

Implications for Nursing: The survey results were presented to the ONS Board of Directors, along with a three-year plan that included recommendations for future development of advocacy, practice, education, and research initiatives. Additional work is needed to effectively support RNs in their provision of psychosocial care to patients and families.

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