Cancer Patients and Oncology Nursing: Perspectives of Oncology Nurses in Turkey
Background and Aim: Burnout and exhaustion is a frequent problem in oncology nursing. The aim of this study is to evaluate the aspects of oncology nurses about their profession in order to enhance the standards of oncology nursing. Materials and Methods: This survey was conducted with 70 oncology nurses working at Hacettepe University Oncology Hospital. Data were collected between January–April 2012. Each participant provided a study form comprising questions about sociodemographic information; about difficulties, positive aspects and required skills for oncology nursing; and questions evaluating level of participation and clinical perception of oncology nursing. Results: Mean age of nurses was 29.9 ± 5.7 years. More than half of the participants were married (51.4%) and 30% had at least one child. Percent of nurses working in oncology for their entire work life was 75.8%. Most frequently expressed difficulties were exhaustion (58.6%), coping with the psychological problems of the patients (25.7%), and frequent deaths (24.3%); positive aspects were satisfaction (37.1%), changing the perceptions about life (30%), and empathy (14.3%); and required skills were patience (60%), empathy (57.1%), and experience (50%). For difficulties of oncology nursing, 28.3% of difficulties could be attributed to job-related factors, 30.3% to patient-related factors, and 77% of difficulties to individual factors. The independent predictors of participation level of the nurses were self-thoughts of skills and positive aspects of oncology nursing. Conclusion: According to the findings of this study, nurses declared that working with cancer patients increase burnout, they are insufficient in managing work stress and giving psychological care to patients, but their job satisfaction, clinical skills and awareness regarding priorities of life has increased.
Keywords: Cancer patient, oncology nursing, participation, perception