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Rutgers Cancer Institute nurses present research at ONS event

Sunday July 20, 2014
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Two nurses at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick have explored an educational initiative to help breast cancer patients navigate the pre-surgical treatment regimen.
They recently presented their research at the Oncology Nursing Society’s annual Congress in Anaheim, Calif.
Clinical management of patients with early stage breast cancer has come to include chemotherapy aimed at shrinking tumors before surgical removal.
Cancer Institute advanced practice nurses Hemanshu Patel, RN, MSN, APN-C, OCN, and Jacquelyn Lauria, RN, MSN, APN-C, AOCPN, identified a need for these patients to have additional educational support. The nurses found patients were often anxious and overwhelmed by the complexity and amount of information, according to a news release. The nurses also found these patients had difficulty in understanding and retaining key information they needed to help manage certain aspects of care on their own.
Patel and Lauria examined industry benchmarking and literature reviews, and met with interdisciplinary experts. They used that information to develop content aimed at improving a patient’s understanding of treatment goals, explaining why treatment plans may require adjustments based on tumor response, supporting patients who may have a poor clinical response to treatment, and reinforcing the reasoning for surgery even if there is no evidence of a tumor following treatment.
The nurses implemented the content through a 20-minute class offered in conjunction with new patient orientation at the Cancer Institute in which patients also learn about self-care strategies and support resources and take a tour of the treatment area. A patient education sheet and treatment calendar incorporating periodic review by the care team round out the initiative.
“Feedback from patients and our healthcare team indicates this enhanced education is reducing patient stress and leading to better comprehension of what is involved in this form of therapy,” Patel and Lauria said in the release. “By helping patients appropriately navigate such complexities, we can help improve their treatment outcomes.”
Also at the annual meeting, Tracy Krimmel, RN, AOCN, APRN-BC, an advanced practice nurse at the Cancer Institute, was named as an ONS Foundation Doctoral Practice Scholarship recipient.


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