ARTICLESSupporting Cancer Patients With Palliative Care Needs: District Nurses' Role PerceptionsGriffiths, Jane PhD; Ewing, Gail PhD; Rogers, Margaret PhD; Barclay, Stephen MSc, MA; Martin, Anna RGN; McCabe, Janet MB; Todd, Chris PhDAuthor Information From the University of Manchester, Manchester (Drs Griffiths, Rogers, and Todd); and University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom (Dr Ewing, Mr Barclay, Ms Martin, and Ms McCabe). When this study was conducted, Gail Ewing, Margaret Rogers, Stephen Barclay, and Anna Martin were members of the Health Service Research Group, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. This work was undertaken by Chris Todd, who received funding from the Department of Health. The views expressed in the publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health. Corresponding author: Jane Griffiths, PhD, School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Coupland 3 Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom (e-mail: email@example.com). Accepted for publication June 8, 2006. Cancer Nursing: March-April 2007 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 156-162 doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000265013.63547.4a Buy Metrics Abstract The aim of this study was to examine UK district nurses' perceptions of their role in supporting palliative care cancer patients. Patients with cancer are living longer with the disease. District nurses are the largest UK workforce caring for people with cancer at home, the preferred place of care. Meeting patients' supportive and palliative care needs is complex. Little is known about district nurses' supportive role in the early phase of palliative care. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 34 district nurses. Data were analyzed thematically, with assistance from Atlas/ti. A dominant theme emerging from the interviews was ambiguity in the district nurses' supportive role in early palliative care. District nurses discussed the importance of making contact early on to support cancer patients and their families but had difficulty articulating this "support." Ambiguity, lack of confidence, and perceived skill deficits presented district nurses with dilemmas that were difficult to resolve. District nurses have great potential for meeting cancer patients' supportive and palliative care needs, a potential not currently realized. Education alone is unlikely to improve practice without an understanding of the tensions faced by district nurses in their work. Recognizing and addressing dilemmas in the everyday work of district nurses is central to moving practice forward. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.