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Leadership & Professional Development

Two Approaches to Bridging the Knowledge-Practice Gap in Oncology Nursing

Gloanna J. Peek
ONF 2015, 42(1), 94-95 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.94-95

The field of oncology nursing is continually changing. New drugs to aid in the fight against cancer are being developed, complementary therapies to ease symptoms are gaining prominence, and survivorship care is becoming a welcome yet challenging area of subspecialty. For oncology nurses to provide quality care and to develop improved care delivery systems, they must not only have access to the most current knowledge in the field, but also be equipped with the skills necessary to integrate that knowledge into practice for the benefit of patients and families (LoBiondo-Wood et al., 2014). The importance of nursing research and its relationship to the practice of oncology nursing cannot be minimized (Moore & Badger, 2014). Oncology nurse researchers advance knowledge and, consequently, improve the quality of care for patients with cancer and their families. For example, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) regularly surveys its membership to identify key areas of research focus that then guide the work of nurse investigators (LoBiondo-Wood et al., 2014; ONS Research Agenda Team, 2009). Unfortunately, the shortage of nurse scientists, particularly in oncology nursing, continues to increase as senior doctoral faculty reach retirement age and doctoral education program development remains stagnant (Glasgow & Dreher, 2010; LoBiondo-Wood et al., 2014). This shortage has and will continue to lead to gaps in the generation and implementation of new knowledge, negatively affecting the quality of patient care. As a result, an urgent need exists for innovative and quality doctoral educational programs to develop nurse scientists (Moore & Badger, 2014).

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