Experiences of Nurse Practitioners in Communicating Bad News to Cancer Patients
Virginia Ruth Corey,¹ DNP, ARNP-BC, FNP, and Priscilla Gage Gwyn,² PhD, ARNP-BC, CNS, OCN®, FCN
From ¹Marian University at Saint Thomas Health, Nashville, Tennessee; ²NeuroOncology Center, Florida Hospital, Orlando, Florida
Authors’ disclosures of potential conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.
Virginia Ruth Corey, DNP, ARNP-BC, FNP, 314 Larkspur Cove,
Franklin, TN 37064.
J Adv Pract Oncol 2016;7:485–494 |
doi: 10.6004/jadpro.2016.7.5.2 |
© 2016 Harborside Press®
How oncology practitioners communicate with patients has a strong impact on quality health care. Good communication facilitates positive experiences for both practitioners and patients alike, yet many practitioners report they are inadequately prepared for delivering bad news to cancer patients and often have negative experiences due to poor communication. Using a qualitative exploratory descriptive design this study sought to understand the experiences of nurse practitioners (NPs) when communicating bad news to cancer patients. Methodology consisted of two steps. First, five Florida-licensed NPs with at least 2 years of oncology experience were educated on the use of the SPIKES protocol and utilized it in clinical practice for 30 days. Second, semistructured individual interviews were conducted to record their perceptions of using the SPIKES protocol. Thematic analysis results support the concept that “the experiences of the nurse practitioner when delivering bad news to cancer patients are shaped by their own communication skills.” Educating oncology NPs in using the SPIKES protocol when delivering bad news has the potential to positively impact the experiences of both NPs and patients.
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