Therapeutic education to cancer patients: experiences of Italian nurses

Prandi, Cesarina and Garrino, Lorenza and Clerico, Mario and Sommovigo, Tiziana and Vellone, Ercole and Alvaro, Rosaria (2014) Therapeutic education to cancer patients: experiences of Italian nurses. UNSPECIFIED. Professioni Infermieristiche, 67 (4). pp. 243-251.

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Introduction. Therapeutic patient’ education is a complex process requiring a proper level of communication between the patient and the healthcare professional. Nurses play a key role in providing the patients and their families with educational activities. Objective: This paper is the report of a study which investigates the experiences of some Italian nurses with regards to their role in therapeutic education to cancer patients. Methods: Qualitative research. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 52 nurses working in different Local Health Service Units of two northern Italy regions: Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta. To identify categories and items arising from the data, the researchers used a qualitative content analysis. Results: The interview format was classified into six main categories: a) Patient education as daily care activity; b) Relevance of communication and dialogue for educational purposes; c) Relative usefulness of written information; d) Therapeutic education recording; e) Patients’ feedbacks as a tool for assessing therapeutic education; and f ) Difficult communication. Conclusions: The experience of nurses in terms of their professional role in therapeutic education for cancer patients shows the steady presence of educational activities carried out in a non-planned way. This research confirms the need to launch educational interventions for nurses. Implications for Practice: It is essential to implement an action plan to promote opportunities of professional training in the field since among the most frequent reasons for project failure in therapeutic education is the lack of expert human resources. Keywords: Cancer care, Therapeutic Education, Oncology Nursing, Patient Education

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