Background: In today's world, greater patient empowerment is imperative because 90 million Americans live with 1 or more chronic conditions such as cancer. Evidence reveals that healthy behaviors such as effective symptom self-management can prevent or reduce much of the suffering from cancer. Oncology nurses play a pivotal role in developing a symptom self-management plan that is critical to optimizing a patient's symptom self-management behaviors.
Objective: This article uses exemplars to describe how oncology nurses can apply a tested middle-range theory, the Theory of Symptom Self-management, to clinical practice by incorporating interventions to increase a patient's perceived self-efficacy to optimize patient outcomes.
Methods: The Theory of Symptom Self-management provides a means to understand the dynamic aspects of symptom self-management and provides a tested framework for the development of efficacy-enhancing interventions for use by oncology nurses in clinical practice.
Results: Exemplars based on the Theory of Symptom Self-management depict how oncology nursing can use perceived self-efficacy-enhancing symptom self-management interventions to improve the functional status and quality of life of their patients.
Conclusion: Guided by a theoretical approach, oncology nurses can have a significant positive impact on the lives of their patients by reducing the symptom burden associated with cancer and its treatment.
Implications for practice: Oncology nurses can partner with their patients to design tailored approaches to symptom self-management. These tailored approaches provide the ability to implement patient-specific behaviors that recognize, prevent, relieve, or decrease the timing, intensity, distress, concurrence, and unpleasant quality of symptoms.