Observations of the communication practices between nurses and patients in an oncology outpatient clinic

Anne Prip, Kathrine Hoffmann Pii, Kirsten Alling Møller, Dorte Lisbet Nielsen, Sally E. Thorne, Mary Jarden

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Purpose: Effective communication in cancer care and treatment is linked to better health outcomes, improved
treatment adherence, and improved quality of life for cancer patients. While the characteristics of effective
communication have been identified, there is sparse knowledge about the current conditions for providing effective
communication especially within the outpatient clinical context, where the majority of cancer patients
are currently being treated. This study aimed to explore communication practices between nurses and patients
undergoing chemotherapy in an outpatient clinic to gain insight into how patients are supported in this setting.
Methods: Data were collected through 70 h of participant observations of nurse-patient interactions supplemented
with ad hoc interviews with nurses in an oncology outpatient clinic. The methodology and data analysis
are guided by interpretive description, thematic analysis and symbolic interactionism.
Results: Three themes were generated that characterised communication in the outpatient clinic: Treatmentcentred
communication, efficient communication and spatially-bound communication. While there was good
opportunity for patients to learn about treatment and side effects during cancer treatment, psychosocial concerns
were rarely addressed.
Conclusions: The outpatient setting influences the type and quality of communication between nurses and patients.
Improvement of communication should include not only verbal and written information, but focus on the
importance of nonverbal communication in the oncology outpatient clinic. Furthermore, there is a need to make
environmental adjustments that can facilitate the opportunity for patients to express their needs and for nurses
to respond to them.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Udgave nummerJune
Sider (fra-til)120-125
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2019


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