Oncology Nurses' Attitudes Toward Prognosis-Related Communication: A Pilot Mailed Survey of Oncology Nursing Society Members

Paul R. Helft

Amy Chamness

Colin Terry

Margaret Uhrich

cancer communication, interdisciplinary communication
ONF 2011, 38(4), 468-474. DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.468-474

Purpose/Objectives: To assess oncology nurses' attitudes toward prognosis-related communication and experiences of the quality of such communication among physicians.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Nationwide survey in the United States.

Sample: 394 Oncology Nursing Society members who completed surveys.

Methods: Pilot mailed survey.

Main Research Variables: Demographic variables, measures of attitudes toward and experiences of prognosis-related communication.

Findings: Nurses had mixed views of prognosis-related communication and identified common barriers to their own more effective participation in prognosis-related communication. Nurses with more experience and those who worked in inpatient settings were more likely to be present for physicians' prognosis-related communication with patients.

Conclusions: Respondents identified uncertainties regarding the scope of oncology nurses' role in prognosis-related communication. Respondents also identified opportunities for improved interdisciplinary communication, most importantly the inclusion of oncology nurses in prognosis-related communication.

Implications for Nursing: Opportunities for oncology nurses to bridge some gaps in prognosis-related communication likely exist, although barriers surrounding nurses' role, education, and communication within the context of the larger healthcare team need to be clarified if potential solutions are to be developed.

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