Caring for patients who experience chemotherapy-induced side effects: the meaning for oncology nurses.

J. M. Fall-Dickson, L. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To explore the meaning for oncology nurses of caring for patients with cancer who experience chemotherapy-induced side effects. DESIGN: Descriptive phenomenology. SETTING: Participant's work setting (n = 2), home setting (n = 1), and social setting (n = 2). SAMPLE: Five female oncology nurses (four Caucasian and one African American), age range 31-62 years, with an average of 13.3 years in oncology nursing from a variety of settings (e.g., private medical practice, ambulatory infusion centers, university-based bone marrow/peripheral blood stem cell transplantation unit) with present or recent experience administering chemotherapy. METHODS: Open-ended, audiotaped interviews were conducted. The text was transcribed verbatim and was analyzed using Colaizzi's phenomenologic analysis technique. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLE: Meaning for oncology nurses of providing care to patients with cancer experiencing chemotherapy-induced side effects. FINDINGS: Six main themes and four subthemes emerged from the data analysis. The main themes were Being Drawn Into Patients' Experiences of Suffering. Being Challenged by Personal and Professional Imperatives to Act, Defining Treatment Purpose for Self and Patient, Reconsidering the Meaning of "Sick" and "Well," Being Changed by Ties of Shared Experience, and Advocacy for Self and Patient. CONCLUSIONS: The fundamental meaning to oncology nurses of providing care to patients with cancer experiencing chemotherapy-induced side effects is their empathetic use of self as an oncology nurse/friend to alleviate the suffering related to these side effects. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Providing nursing care to patients who experience chemotherapy-induced side effects is both rewarding and stressful. Sharing these research results may help other oncology nurses discover and experience deeper meaning in their own practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-907
Number of pages7
JournalOncology nursing forum
Volume26
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)

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