The Impact of Interlink Community Cancer Nurses on the Experience of Living With Cancer

Doris Howell

Margaret Fitch

Brenda Caldwell

ONF 2002, 29(4), 715-723. DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.715-723

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the impact of expert oncology nursing support provided by an independent nursing service, Interlink Community Cancer Nurses, on patients' experience of living with cancer.

Design: Qualitative research design guided by hermeneutic phenomenology using a broad data-generating statement.

Setting: Homes of participants in a metropolitan city.

Sample: Purposive sampling was used to select participants for the study. Eighteen women and two men with a variety of cancer diagnoses and living circumstances participated in the study. Accrual was stopped when data saturation occurred.

Main Research Variables: Patients' perceptions of the experience of receiving care in the home setting from expert oncology nurses.

Findings: Seven core themes described the participants' perceptions of and the impact of expert oncology nursing care on their experience of living with cancer.

Conclusions: Expert oncology nursing support in the community is perceived by people living with cancer as having a significant impact on their experience and influencing their well-being and survival. The knowledge and experience of oncology nurses and the way in which care is delivered are critical elements. Further research should continue to explore the relationship between expert community oncology nursing support and healthcare outcomes for people with cancer.

Implications for Nursing: Community nursing agencies need to examine their ability to ensure access to knowledgeable and experienced oncology nurses who can support and address the needs of people with cancer across the cancer trajectory.

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