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Barriers in Providing Psychosocial Support for Patients With Cancer

Botti, Mari RN, RM, BN, PhD, MRCNA; Endacott, Ruth RN, DipN, MA, PhD; Watts, Rosemary RN, RM, Crit Care Cert, BN, Grad Dip in Adv Nurs (Ed), MHSc, PhD; Cairns, Julie RN, BN, Cert Cancer Nursing, Master of Bioethics; Lewis, Katrina RN; Kenny, Amanda RN, RM, PhD

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There is sound evidence to support the notion that the provision of effective psychosocial care improves the outcomes of patients with cancer. Central to the implementation of this care is that health professionals have the necessary communication and assessment skills. This study aimed to identify key issues related to providing effective psychosocial care for adult patients admitted with hematological cancer, as perceived by registered nurses with 3 or more years of clinical experience. An exploratory qualitative design was used for this study. Two focus group interviews were conducted with 15 experienced cancer nurses. The provision of psychosocial care for patients with cancer is a dynamic process that has a professional and personal impact on the nurse. The 5 analytic themes to emerge from the data were as follows: When is it a good time to talk? Building relationships; Being drawn into the emotional world; Providing support throughout the patient's journey; and Breakdown in communication processes. The findings from this study indicate an urgent need to develop a framework to provide nurses with both skill development and ongoing support in order to improve nurses' ability to integrate psychosocial aspects of care and optimize patient outcomes.

From the Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, Epworth/Deakin Nursing Research Centre, Richmond Vic 3121, Australia (Drs Botti and Watts); La Trobe/The Alfred Clinical School, The Alfred Hospital, Prahran Vic 3121, Australia and School of Nursing and Community Studies, University of Plymouth, Exeter EX2 6AS, England (Dr Endacott); The Alfred, Commercial Road, Prahran Vic 3121, Australia (Mss Cairns and Lewis); and School of Nursing, LaTrobe University, Bendigo Vic 3550, Australia (Dr Kenny).

Corresponding author: Mari Botti, RN, BN, PhD, MRCNA, Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, Epworth/Deakin Nursing Research Centre, 89 Bridge Road, Richmond Vic 3121, Australia (e-mail: mari.botti@deakin.edu.au).

Accepted for publicaton December 23, 2005.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.