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 — Research nurse practitioner (NP) involvement in early phase clinical trials may allow for a safer and more patient-centered trial experience, leading to improved outcomes and patient satisfaction, according to an oral presentation at the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress.

Clinical trial research is a complex process that heavily involves multiple healthcare teams, and does not merely pose clinical challenges but logistical ones as well. Patients must make frequent visits to the clinic during early phase studies and may overwhelm administrators and healthcare providers alike, all the while disrupting the continuity of care. 

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“The critical value of clinical research and unique complexities have become even more apparent in recent years, “said Edward Bentlyewski, MSN, APN, NP-C. “The research related goals of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative include improving clinical research and regulatory efficiency as well as increasing accessibility of clinical trial information for patients.”

For this study, Bentlyewski and associates established a NP-lead clinic at the CUMC Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center staffed by clinical research nurses and research NPs to improve provider availability and patient safety and experience in the phase 1 setting. 

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Bentlyewski stated that NP-led clinics may have multiple benefits for NPs, patients, and the clinic itself. NPs would be better able to utilize their skill sets, have increased job satisfaction and autonomy, and would be able to better maintain continuity of care. Clinics would be able to bill for NP services, and NPs would enhance study enrollment, retention, and adherence. 

Furthermore, NP-led clinics would hopefully lead to consistent and uniform documentation of adverse events (AEs), to manage the disease and treatment related symptoms without hospitalization and serious AEs, and reconcile patient needs with study requirements and avoid study violations. 

Bentlyewski concluded that “once this model is established within the phase 1 group, it could potentially be replicated and expanded upon in various tumor groups at our institution.”


Bentlyewski E, Brogan F, Macchiaroli A, Crawford G, Wu R, Forman J. Establishing a research nurse practitioner lead for early phase clinical trials. Oral presentation at: ONS 43rd Annual Congress; May 17-20, 2018; Washington, DC.