Using the Delphi technique, a panel of 575 nurses was surveyed to determine priorities for clinical research in cancer nursing. Of these, 254, of whom 62% were engaged at least half-time in direct care activities, completed all three survey rounds. A list of problem statements was generated from data supplied by the original panel of 575. Subsequent rounds were conducted to determine for each problem: 1) whether nursing should assume research leadership; 2) the potential value of the problem's solution for practicing nurses; and 3) the potential impact of research on the subject upon patient welfare. The majority of the items were regarded by the panelists as areas in which nursing should assume research leadership. In terms of potential impact on patient welfare, panelists placed highest priority on problems related to physiological responses to cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, and relief of patients' physical discomforts, including pain. Items judged by the panel as having high value for practicing nurses focused predominantly on the need for organized support systems for the practitioner and on educational and communication needs. Comparative rankings for cancer center and general settings subgroups, and for education, administration, practice subgroups, are discussed.
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