The following article features coverage from the 46th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Oncology nurses should respond to patient emotions and establish an open exchange of information early in the care for a patient, not just at the end, to ensure adequate support. These findings were presented in a poster during the 46th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress.

In a pilot program, a physician and nurse team asked all new patients with metastatic cancer at Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute 2 questions: What should we know about you as a person to take best care of you?, and Facing cancer, what gives you strength?

A discussion about the patient’s response with the oncology nurse occurred on a separate day to allow the patient time to reflect on their answers. Responses were recorded in the Advanced Care Planning section of electronic medical records.

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The researchers found the initiation of a discussion about patient-specific values improved the flow of information between the care team and the patient. This ease of information exchange was carried over across the multidisciplinary team.

The early establishment of addressing unique patient concerns allowed for care to be better personalized for the patient and provided extra support for their caregivers. Overall, the investigators observed the distress that comes with an advanced illness was better relieved.

This pilot program found addressing patient emotional concerns at the start of treatment for metastatic cancer allowed the patient to feel they were treated as a person and not as a disease.

Read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s coverage of the 46th Annual ONS Congress by visiting the conference page.


Malinoski K, Cerami C. Integrating patient’s goals of care at the beginning of their cancer journey — rather than at the end. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2021;48(2):abstr 9176.