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Individualized Care in the Radiation Oncology Setting From the Patients’ and Nurses’ Perspectives

Rose, Pauline M. PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000332

Background: Radiation oncology nurses engage in individualized supportive care of people undergoing radiotherapy. A primary nursing/collaborative practice framework guides the delivery of individualized care to patients.

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe and compare patients’ and nurses’ perceptions of individualized care in 2 radiotherapy centers.

Methods: This cross-sectional, comparative study collected data from patients (n = 173) undergoing curative radiotherapy and their nurses (n = 30), using the Individualized Care scales: patient and nurse.

Results: Moderate to high levels of individual care were perceived by both patients and nurses. More than a third of the item scores for patients reached the more than 4.5 mean score (13/34 [38.2%]), whereby more than half of the items reached this level for nurses (20/34 [58.8%]). The highest scores for both patients and nurses were in the Decisional Control subscales, and the lowest scores were in the Personal Life subscales. Males rated being treated as individuals significantly higher than did females across the majority of subscales. Patients receiving chemotherapy perceived less acknowledgement of individuality overall. Older nurses (46–70 years) reported acknowledging and supporting patient individuality more than did younger nurses. Nurses perceived greater individualized care than patients for the Personal Life scales (A: p = .001); (B: p = .001) and in the acknowledgement of Decisional Control (p = .001).

Conclusion: A moderate level of individualized nursing care was perceived by the largely outpatient cohort of patients undergoing radiotherapy.

Implications for Practice: The model of care in these departments may contribute to patient individuality. Further work into gender differences and those receiving chemotherapy may improve care for these patients.

Author Affiliation: Radiation Oncology, Princess Alexandra Hospital: Mater Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Pauline M. Rose, PhD, RN, Radiation Oncology Mater Centre, 31 Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane 4101, Queensland, Australia (

Accepted for publication November 19, 2015.

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