The Concept of Care in Oncology Nursing: A Literature Review

Background: The systematic and organized study of the meaning of care appeared in the last 50 years in nursing literature. The oncology nursing is nursing specialty which very early responded to the challenge in defining such a complicated and significant concept. Aim: The purpose of this review was to investigate the way in which the concept of “care” is perceived and described by nurses and patients in the oncology nursing domain. Method: A comprehensive literature review was contacted in the databases Medline, ScienceDirect, Cinahl, HEAL-Link from years 1994 till year 2009, using the following terms in English: “nursing”, “care”, “caring”, “cancer patients”, “caring behaviors”, “oncology”. Specifically, 28 studies were selected and analyzed, which explored patients and nurses perceptions of care in oncology. Results: Data analysis showed that nurses perceived care according to their personality and their values, while they were influenced by their beliefs about cancer. Nurses specialists’ interventions improve the quality of care planning. In specialized cancer centers, or hospices a therapeutic interpersonal relationship between patients and nurses is established that alleviates patients’ suffering. Nurses’ presence beside the patient is among the top five most popular caring behaviours for nurses. Conclusions: Patients’ perceptions remain stable through the years. Caring behaviours related to nurses’ professional skills and knowledge in implementing various nursing procedures are considered as the most important by the patients. Moreover sensitivity, empathy, good communication skills and appropriate training that promotes an environment of trust and security are also considered as very important. Finally, the importance of culturally sensitive care with respect to their religious beliefs is emphasized. The difference in patients and nurses perceptions in caring behaviors in oncology seems to converge in specialized cancer settings.

Category: Volume 50, N 1
Hits: 56 Hits
Created Date: 15-03-2011
Authors: Chrysoula Karlou , Elisabeth Patiraki