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Experiences of non-specialist nurses caring for patients and their significant others undergoing transitions during palliative end-of-life cancer care: a systematic review

Thorn, Hrønn1,2; Uhrenfeldt, Lisbeth3,4,5

JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: June 2017 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p 1711–1746
doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-003026
SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS

Background Non-specialist nurses, who are providing palliative end-of-life cancer care to patients and significant others undergoing psychosocial and existential transitions, may experience dissatisfaction, frustration and sorrow. On the other hand, they may also experience happiness, increased knowledge and personal growth.

Objective/question What are non-specialist nurses’ experiences when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care that involves the psychosocial and existential transitions of their patients and significant others?

Inclusion criteria Types of participants The current review considered studies that included a description of the experiences of non-specialist trained registered nurses (RNs) working in non-specialist wards.

Phenomena of interest The current review considered studies that investigated experiences of RNs when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care that involves the psychosocial and existential transitions of their patients and significant others.

Context The contact and care for patients and their significant others during palliative end-of-life cancer care.

Types of studies The current review considered studies that focused on qualitative data including, but not limited to, designs such as phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, action research and feminist research.

Search strategy The search aimed at finding both published and unpublished studies in English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and German, and was unrestricted by time. Eleven electronic databases and seven websites were searched.

Methodological quality Methodological validity of the qualitative papers was assessed independently by two reviewers using the standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-QARI).

Data extraction Data were extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from the JBI-QARI.

Data synthesis Qualitative research findings were synthesized using the JBI-QARI.

Results A total of 81 findings were extracted from the three studies and allocated to five categories and merged into a meta-synthesis with the overarching synthesized finding related to the challenges that non-specialist nurses faced when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care. The summary of findings is illustrated below.

Conclusion The studies in this review provided useful and credible statements from non-specialist nurses working in non-specialist wards about their challenges when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care to patients and their significant others undergoing psychosocial and existential transitions.

1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Horsens Regional Hospital, Horsens, Denmark

2Department of Research, Horsens Regional Hospital, Horsens, Denmark

3Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

4Danish Center of Systematic Reviews: a Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence, the Center of Clinical Guidelines – Clearing House, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

5Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nord University, Bodø, Norway

Correspondence: Hrønn Thorn, johtho@rm.dk

There is no conflict of interest in this project.

© 2017 by Lippincott williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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