Research and Scholarship

Early Palliative Care for Oncology Patients: How APRNs Can Take the Lead

Heidi Mason,(1,2) DNP, ACNP-BC, Mary Beth DeRubeis,(2) MSN, FNP-BC, and Beth Hesseltine,(2) MSN, FNP-C

From (1)University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, Michigan; (2)University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Authors’ disclosures of conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.

Correspondence to: Heidi Mason, DNP, ACNP-BC, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail: hmason@med.umich.edu


J Adv Pract Oncol 2021;12(5):477–484 | https://doi.org/10.6004/jadpro.2021.12.5.3 | © 2021 Harborside™


  

ABSTRACT

Background: Patients with cancer need expert and multidisciplinary care throughout the trajectory of their illness. Palliative care should be instituted early in the course of their disease. Early palliative care enables patients and their families to control physical, psychological, social, and spiritual symptoms of the disease. In our current health-care system, early palliative care is not being integrated due to a lack of education of providers and nurses, an infrastructure that does not support palliative medicine, and poor communication skills among practitioners. Methods and Results: The Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing (PCQN) completed by nurse practitioners at a large Midwest cancer center found that those nurse practitioners had a poor understanding of the basic precepts of palliative care. This is consistent with the current literature. Conclusion: Advanced practice nurses should be educated on the principles of palliative care, as they are perfectly situated to advance the integration of early palliative care in the oncology setting.




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