Purpose/objectives: To identify common barriers to the recruitment of participants for oncology clinical trials, identify strategies that would be useful in increasing enrollment of participants in oncology clinical trials, and describe the role of the clinical trial nurse in the recruitment process.
Data sources: Published articles and abstracts, empirical studies, conference proceedings, references from bibliographies of pertinent articles and books, and computerized databases from 1994-2001.
Data synthesis: The barriers to participant recruitment in clinical trials may be categorized as being related to either the patient, healthcare provider, or protocol.
Conclusions: Several achievable strategies for improving recruitment to oncology clinical trials exist. Nurses need to understand the complex and diverse factors that influence participant accrual to oncology clinical trials. Strategies to increase enrollment should focus on increased communications and education for patients and healthcare providers. Dedicated clinical trials nurses can play an integral part in the recruitment and accrual of patients to oncology clinical trials.
Implications for nursing: Clinical trial nurses play many important roles in the conduct of oncology clinical trials. To better plan and manage these investigations, nurses need to develop strategies to mitigate the complex and diverse factors that may influence accrual patterns.