Research and Scholarship

Role of Oncology Advanced Practitioners to Enhance Clinical Research

Christa Braun-Inglis, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP®, Leigh M. Boehmer, PharmD, BCOP, Laura J. Zitella, MS, RN, ACNP-BC, AOCN®, Brianna Hoffner, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP®, Yurii B. Shvetsov, PhD, Jeffrey L. Berenberg, MD, Randall A. Oyer, MD, and Al B. Benson III, MD

From (1)University of Hawaii School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, Honolulu, Hawaii; (2)University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii; (3)Association of Community Cancer Centers, Rockville, Maryland; (4)University of California, San Francisco; (5)Harborside, Huntington, New York; (6)Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; (7)Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

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

Correspondence to: Christa Braun-Inglis, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP®, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, 701 Ilalo Street, Honolulu, HI 96813. E-mail: cbrauninglis@cc.hawaii.edu


J Adv Pract Oncol 2022;13(2):107–119 | https://doi.org/10.6004/jadpro.2022.13.2.2 | © 2022 Harborside™


  

ABSTRACT

Background: Oncology advanced practitioners (APs), including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, physician assistants, and clinical pharmacists contribute significantly to quality cancer care. Advanced practitioners enhance value across the spectrum of cancer care. Research is an underdeveloped component of quality care, as well as an underdeveloped component of AP practice. Understanding research-related attitudes and roles of APs could lead to enhanced clinical trial accrual, conduct, and protocol development. Methods: A nationwide survey addressing attitudes, beliefs, and roles of APs regarding clinical research was distributed by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) and Harborside in early 2020. Results: 408 oncology APs completed the survey. Thirty-five percent practice in an academic setting and 62% in the community. Nearly all respondents believe clinical trials are important to improve care, and over 90% report clinical trials are available at their practice. About 80% report being comfortable discussing the topic of clinical trials with patients and are involved in the care of trial participants. Sixty percent are comfortable discussing available trials, and 38% routinely explore available trials with patients. While 70% report approaching eligible patients about trials, only 20% report doing so “a great deal” or “a lot.” Ninety percent report that APs should play a role in clinical research, and 73% want to be more involved. Barriers identified to greater AP clinical trial involvement include lack of time, inadequate awareness of trial specifics, and a lack of a formal role in protocol development and leadership. Conclusions: Advanced practitioners are engaged and interested in clinical trials and believe clinical research is important to improve cancer care. Multidisciplinary team integration, trials-related education, and policy change are needed to employ APs to their full potential within cancer clinical trials.




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