Effects of a nursing intervention on quality of life outcomes in post-surgical women with gynecological cancers

Psychooncology. 2009 Jan;18(1):62-70. doi: 10.1002/pon.1365.


Objective: Women with gynecological cancers have reported poor health-related quality of life (QOL), with complex physical and psychological needs post-surgery and during chemotherapy treatment. There are no studies reporting interventions addressing these needs post-hospital discharge in this population.

Methods: Patients were randomized into two groups. The intervention group received 6 months of specialized care by an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN); in addition, women with high distress were evaluated and monitored by a psychiatric consultation-liaison nurse (PCLN). The attention control group was assisted with symptom management by a research assistant. The effects of the 6-month intervention were evaluated using self-report questionnaires at baseline (24-48 h after surgery), 1, 3, and 6 months post- surgery. QOL assessments included the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale , the ambiguity subscale of the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale , the Symptom Distress Scale, and the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12). The sample for the longitudinal analysis included 123 who completed QOL outcome measures across three occasions post-surgery.

Results: The APN intervention resulted in significantly less uncertainty than the attention control intervention 6 months after surgery. When the sub-group who received the APN plus PCLN intervention was compared with the total attention control group, the sub-group had significantly less uncertainty, less symptom distress, and better SF-12 mental and physical QOL over time.

Conclusion: Nurse tailored interventions that target both physical and psychological aspects of QOL in women recovering from cancer surgery and undergoing chemotherapy produce stronger outcomes than interventions that target solely one QOL aspect.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare / methods*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / nursing
  • Connecticut
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Care / nursing*
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Single-Blind Method