Oral Chemotherapy Course Increases Confidence Among Nurses Outside Oncology Units

A 4-hour live course on use of oral chemotherapy successfully improved confidence and knowledge among nurses unfamiliar with oncology.
A 4-hour live course on use of oral chemotherapy successfully improved confidence and knowledge among nurses unfamiliar with oncology.

ORLANDO, FL—A 4-hour live course on use of oral chemotherapy successfully improved confidence and knowledge among nurses unfamiliar with oncology, results of a project presented at the ONS 40th Annual Congress has found.

This is especially important in that the number of patients treated with long-term oral chemotherapy is predicted to reach 25%, with many admitted to the hospital outside oncology units for treatment unrelated to their cancer, said Rachel Ray, MSN, RN, OCN®, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona.

“Nurses outside of oncology often lack confidence about administering antineoplastic agents and caring for patients receiving them because they are unfamiliar with the drugs and safe administration standards,” she said.

The target audience comprised 106 charge nurses and educators. An oncology pharmacist, clinical nurse specialist, and an oncology education specialist delivered the course content, which incorporated the ASCO/ONS chemotherapy standards and included a role-play oral chemotherapy administration scenario.

On the pretest, which included a question about oral chemotherapy administration confidence levels, only 7% of participants rated themselves “confident” or “strongly confident” on their knowledge.

After the course, this improved to 75% who were “confident” or “strongly confident.” Overall, posttest scores improved by an average of 30%.

Nurses were provided with an oral chemotherapy administration checklist, an oral chemotherapy counseling checklist, an oral chemotherapy patient handout, and an oral chemotherapy reference chart to be used on their respective units.

“Future studies should focus on evaluating whether educational courses such as this can help minimize oral antineoplastic administration errors,” Ray concluded.

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