Cancer patients’ sensemaking of conversations with cancer nurses in outpatient clinics

Owen Hargie, Hildfrid Brataas, Sigrid Thorsnes

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    Abstract

    ObjectiveCommunication is of significant importance to cancer patients however little is known about how they experience and make sense of their interactions with cancer nurses. This study was designed to investigate how and in what ways patients interpret initial consultations with cancer nurses in terms of how they perceive the role of the nurse.DesignThis qualitative study involved ‘sensemaking’ interviews with patients following their firstconsultation with nurses.SettingThe study was carried out in two outpatient cancer clinics in hospitals in Norway.SubjectsThe sample consisted of nine cancer outpatients experiencing a range of cancer situations.Main outcome measuresThe main outcomes measure was an understanding of the way in which cancer patients make sense of the role of nurses following initial consultation.ResultsPreconceptions of the role of the nurse were limited, with the nurse perceived as playing a mainly functional, task‑centred, role. Patients’ actual experience broadened their sense of the role of the cancer nurse to encompass a psychosocial supportive role.ConclusionsThe sensemaking approach used in this study offered a depth of insight into core factors that shaped the patients’ understanding. It is argued this approach has benefits for nursing research. Possible advantages for nursing practice and further research are suggested.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)70-78
    JournalAustralian Journal of Advanced Nursing
    Volume26
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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