EONS Session: Nurse Navigators in thoracic oncology: a qualitative study of German nurses’ attitudes to nursing role expansion

Date 22 October 2018
Event ESMO 2018 Congress
Session New cancer nursing roles: Innovation in action
Topics Career Development
Presenter Laura Hagelskamp
Citation Annals of Oncology (2018) 29 (suppl_8): viii683-viii688. 10.1093/annonc/mdy276
Authors L. Hagelskamp1, S. Berger2, M. Villalobos1, M. Thomas1, M. Wensing2, C. Mahler2
  • 1Thoracic Oncology, Thoraxklinik Heidelberg, 69126 - Heidelberg/DE
  • 2General Practice And Health Services Research, University Hospital Heidelberg, 69120 - Heidelberg/DE



Patients with metastatic lung cancer have a limited prognosis; co-ordinated health services are vital for adequate responsiveness to their changing, complex and specific needs. A promising development to reduce fragmentation of care and improve communication between service providers is the role of the nurse navigator (NN). The aim of this study was to explore attitudes of nurses in a German thoracic oncology service to the implementation of this new NN role.


Problem-based interviews were conducted in July and August 2017 with individual registered nurses using a semi-structured interview guide until saturation of data was reached (n = 12). Data were analysed using Framework Analysis.


Three key themes emerged: a) attitudes towards implementation of NN, b) current understanding of role and role development and c) expectations of new role. Firstly, attitudes towards implementation of NN ranged across a spectrum from confidence and seeing advantages for patient care to scepticism towards expected outcomes and doubts about the new role. Secondly, participants also held highly diverse perceptions of their own nursing role in the health care team and their future potentials. Some held a traditional view of nurses as assistants to physicians, while others wished for increasing advancement and professionalization of nursing in Germany. Thirdly, interprofessional collaboration, a sensible integration of nurses with academic degrees and the willingness of nurses to carry increased professional responsibility were perceived as key factors for successful implementation of NN in the thoracic oncology service.


Results will inform the change implementation plan and educational strategies for roll-out of the NN role and highlight current dichotomies and tensions in views among German nurses towards their professional status and scope of practice.

Clinical trial identification

Legal entity responsible for the study

Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, Heidelberg.


Has not received any funding.

Editorial Acknowledgement


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.