Physical Activity Promotion, Beliefs, and Barriers Among Australasian Oncology Nurses

Justin W.L. Keogh

Petra Pühringer

Alicia Olsen

Sally Sargeant

Lynnette M. Jones

Mike Climstein

exercise, health promotion, oncology, nurse, survivorship
ONF 2017, 44(2), 235-245. DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.235-245

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the physical activity (PA) promotion practices, beliefs, and barriers of Australasian oncology nurses and gain preliminary insight into how PA promotion practices may be affected by the demographics of the nurses.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Australia and New Zealand.

Sample: 119 registered oncology nurses.

Methods: Self-reported online survey completed once per participant.

Main Research Variables: Questions assessed the PA promotion beliefs (e.g., primary healthcare professionals responsible for PA promotion, treatment stage), PA benefits (e.g., primary benefits, evidence base), and PA promotion barriers of oncology nurses.

Findings: Oncology nurses believed they were the major providers of PA advice to their patients. They promoted PA prior to, during, and post-treatment. The three most commonly cited benefits of PA for their patients were improved quality of life, mental health, and activities of daily living. Lack of time, lack of adequate support structures, and risk to patient were the most common barriers to PA promotion. Relatively few significant differences in the oncology nurses’ PA promotion practices, beliefs, and barriers were observed based on hospital location or years of experience.

Conclusions: Despite numerous barriers, Australasian oncology nurses wish to promote PA to their patients with cancer across multiple treatment stages because they believe PA is beneficial for their patients.

Implications for Nursing: Hospitals may need to better support oncology nurses in promoting PA to their patients and provide better referral pathways to exercise physiologists and physiotherapists.

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