Training Oncology Nurses to Use Remote Symptom Support Protocols: A Retrospective Pre-/Post-Study

Dawn Stacey

Myriam Skrutkowski

Meg Carley

Erin Kolari

Tara Shaw

Barbara Ballantyne

oncology, nursing, symptoms, training, knowledge, confidence
ONF 2015, 42(2), 174-182. DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.174-182

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the impact of training on nurses’ satisfaction and perceived confidence using symptom protocols for remotely supporting patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Design: Retrospective pre-/post-study guided by the Knowledge-to-Action Framework.

Setting: Interactive workshops at three ambulatory oncology programs in Canada.

Sample: 107 RNs who provide remote support to patients with cancer.

Methods: Workshops included didactic presentation, role play with protocols, and group discussion. Post-training, a survey measured satisfaction with training and retrospective pre-/post-perceived confidence in the ability to provide symptom support using protocols. One-tailed, paired t-tests measured change.

Main Research Variables: Satisfaction with the workshop and perceived confidence in the ability to provide symptom support and use protocols.

Findings: Twenty-two workshops, 30–60 minutes each, were conducted with 107 participants. Ninety completed the survey. Compared to preworkshop, postworkshop nurses had improved self-confidence to assess, triage, and guide patients in self-care for cancer treatment–related symptoms, and use protocols to facilitate symptom assessment, triage, and care. Workshops were rated as easy to understand, comprehensive, and provided new information on remote symptom management. Some specified that the workshop did not provide enough time for role play, but most said they would recommend it to others.

Conclusions: The workshop increased nurses’ perceived confidence with providing remote symptom support and was well received.

Implications for Nursing: Subsequent workshops should ensure adequate time for role play to enhance nurses’ skills in using protocols and documenting symptom support.

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