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Incorporating Supportive Care Into Routine Cancer Care: The Benefits and Challenges to Clinicians' Practice

Eli Ristevski

Sibilah Breen

Melanie Regan

cancer care
ONF 2011, 38(3), E204-E211. DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E204-E211

Purpose/Objectives: To investigate clinicians' experiences with supportive care screening and referral, and identify perceived barriers and benefits associated with implementation into the clinical setting.

Design: Qualitative, exploratory approach based on interviews.

Setting: A large regional hospital in Victoria, Australia, that provides chemotherapy and radiotherapy services to patients with cancer.

Sample: 5 chemotherapy nurses and 1 radiation therapist.

Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted, documented, and analyzed with qualitative techniques.

Main Research Variables: Clinical benefits of supportive care screening and referral, and barriers to clinical implementation.

Findings: Clinicians perceived that supportive care screening benefited their practice by improving communication and rapport with patients. Clinicians supported each other during screening implementation, and although they initially were hesitant about the process, they ultimately endorsed screening for wider implementation. Time constraints and scope of practice were identified as significant barriers.

Conclusions: Supportive care screening was endorsed as part of future clinical practice, but barriers to implementation need to be addressed.

Implications for Nursing: With current psychosocial guidelines recommending routine supportive care screening of patients with cancer and statewide mandatory screening targets set in Australia, healthcare organizations need to carefully consider implementation processes. Although nurses are ideally placed to complete screening, organizations need to ensure that appropriate training and support mechanisms have been developed, as well as adequate resources, to enable integration into routine practice.

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