Nurses' perspectives on the personal and professional impact of providing nurse-led primary palliative care in outpatient oncology settings

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2019 Jan 2;25(1):30-37. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2019.25.1.30.


Background:: Palliative care (PC) workforce shortages have led to a need for primary PC provided by non-specialists. The Care Management by Oncology Nurses (CONNECT) intervention provides infusion room oncology nurses with training and support to provide primary PC.

Aims:: To describe nurses' perspectives on the personal and professional impact of training and provision of primary PC as part of CONNECT.

Methods:: This qualitative study consisted of in-depth telephone interviews with 11 nurses at oncology practices in Pennsylvania. Data was analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings:: Nurses reported a sense of personal and professional fulfillment from providing primary PC, while noting the risk of increased emotional attachment to patients. Participation improved nursing communication skills. A supportive workplace helped to minimise stress related to incorporating primary PC into busy treatment schedules.

Conclusion:: Providing primary PC challenges the task-oriented paradigm of nursing practice and will potentially alter the professional roles and workloads of infusion room nurses.

Keywords: Oncology nursing; Outpatient setting; Primary palliative care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*