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Oncology Nurses' Knowledge of Survivorship Care Planning: The Need for Education

Joanne L. Lester

Andrew L. Wessels

Yoonsuh Jung

late effects of cancer treatment, rehabilitation, survivorship, undergraduate nursing education, continuing education
ONF 2014, 41(2), E35-E43. DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E35-E43

Purpose/Objectives: To survey nurses about their knowledge of cancer survivorship care.

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional.

Setting: Midwestern comprehensive cancer center.

Sample: 223 registered and advanced practice nurses.

Methods: Online survey of survivorship knowledge using a 50-item questionnaire derived from the Institute of Medicine report and related publications.

Main Research Variables: Concepts of survivorship care and common long-term symptoms.

Findings: Most nurses reported having knowledge about healthy lifestyle habits; more than 50% of nurses reported having knowledge about chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy, as well as side effects of fatigue, depression, limitations of daily activities, and weight gain; less than 50% of nurses reported having knowledge of impact on family, biologic agents, lymphedema, immunizations or vaccinations, and osteoporosis screening; less than 40% of nurses reported having knowledge about marital and partner relationships, osteoporosis prevention and care, sexuality, side effects of bone marrow transplantation, employment issues, and angiogenesis agents; and less than 25% of nurses reported having knowledge on genetic risks, as well as fertility, financial, and insurance issues.

Conclusions: Oncology nurses at an academic comprehensive cancer center reported gaps in knowledge consistent with previous studies about knowledge of survivorship care.

Implications for Nursing: The Institute of Medicine has challenged oncology providers to address cancer survivorship care planning. Gaps in cancer survivorship knowledge are evident and will require focused education for this initiative to be successful.

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