The following article features coverage from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2018 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

An assessment of patients’ self-efficacy for symptom management (SESM) by nurses before stem cell transplant (SCT) may be useful in improving symptom management and outcomes among patients with hematologic cancers, according to a presentation at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2018 Annual Conference.

SCT is associated with debilitating adverse events and symptoms that severely reduce patient quality of life (QoL) and function. The implications of changes in SESM — a patient’s belief in his or her ability to manage symptoms — during the acute phase of SCT has not been fully explored.

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For this study, researchers evaluated symptom distress, physical function, and SESM changes at baseline, and at days 7, 15, and 30, in 40 patients with hematologic malignancies who were scheduled to undergo SCT.

Results showed that symptom distress, SESM, and physical function significantly changed over time; a significant negative association was observed between physical function and symptom distress, as well as SESM and symptom distress at all points of the study.

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The highest level of symptom distress with lowest SESM was measured at day 7.

Patients who had a higher SESM experienced fewer symptoms from SCT and had higher physical function; higher physical function was tied to reduced symptom distress and improved confidence to be able to manage symptoms.

These findings may be used to form patient-centered interventions, and the authors concluded that “these interventions can be used to enhance SESM during all phases of transplant, but especially when symptoms are at their most distressing. This has the potential to improve symptom management and patient outcomes such as functional status, quality of life, and utilization of health care resources.”


White L, Cohen M, Berger A, Kupzyk K, Bierman P. Self-efficacy for symptom management: impact on outcomes in stem cell transplant patients. Oral presentation at: NACNS 2018 Annual Conference; February 28-March 3, 2018; Austin, TX.