The following article features coverage from the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

WASHINGTON, DC — The Care Management by Oncology Nurses (CONNECT) intervention once implemented has an overall positive impact and may provide professional and personal benefit to nurses who have been trained in it, according to an oral presentation given at the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress.

“Currently national guidelines recommend that early specialty palliative care should be integrated across the continuum of advanced cancer care,” according to Kaitlin Feldenzer, MSN, RN. CONNECT is an intervention in which registered oncology nurses receive training and support, and takes advantage of the close proximity of nurses to patients during oncologic treatment. A better understanding of how CONNECT affected nurses professionally and personally may allow more effective delivery of the intervention. 

For this study, the authors invited all nurses who completed training and practiced CONNECT implementation for at least 1 month at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-affiliated community oncology clinics to be interviewed. 

Of all eligible nurses, 7 were interviewed. Researchers gleaned from the interviews that nurses felt a sense of personal and professional fulfillment from the unique, extended one-on-one time and support they provided to patients from participating in CONNECT, and also felt they enhanced their communication skills with patients, especially when discussing care goals and end-of-life planning. 

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However, the interviewees also stated they were stressed and frustrated from being unable to implement CONNECT due to inadequate time and staffing in busy clinics, as well as feeling guilty from having other nursing staff take care of their other patients. They did note however, that support from leadership and coworkers did improve these negative emotions. 

The authors concluded that “personal and professional growth experienced by [nurses] providing primary palliative care will strengthen provision of the intervention. Time and staffing issues must be addressed to avoid negative impacts on [nurses] and ensure sustainability of primary palliative care interventions.”

Reference

Feldenzer K, Rosenzweig M, Schenker Y. Nurses’ perspectives on the personal and professional impact of providing nurse-led primary palliative care in outpatient oncology settings. Oral presentation at: ONS 43rd Annual Congress; May 17-20, 2018; Washington, DC.