Purpose/objectives: To describe current nursing practices in the United States regarding care and safety of patients taking oral chemotherapy.
Design: This three-phase study consisted of development, validation, and implementation of a national online survey.
Setting: Survey of oncology nurses in outpatient settings.
Sample: 577 oncology nurses.
Methods: Surveys were emailed to 5,000 members of the Oncology Nursing Society. The survey included 17 forced-choice items and one free-text item. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were obtained.
Main research variables: Patient care practices, nursing resources, and barriers to medication adherence.
Findings: Fifty-one percent of the respondents worked in practices that had developed specific policies, procedures, and resources for patients on oral chemotherapy. Barriers to treatment adherence included cost (81%) and adverse effects (72%). Practices with specific policies differed in clinical and statistical significance from practices without policies on almost every survey item. Free-text responses revealed that many practices have erratic procedures and inadequate interdisciplinary communication.
Conclusions: Systematic reliable policies and procedures for patient education, documentation, and interdisciplinary communication are urgently needed.
Implications for nursing: Nurses should provide education and repeated teaching to improve patient safety, adherence to the medication, and self-monitoring for adverse effects.
Keywords: ambulatory care; chemotherapy; clinical practice; oral chemotherapy; patient education.