Cancer nurses struggle to meet the challenges in providing quality nursing care in changing environments characterized by advances in drugs and technologies, aging populations, increasing rates of cancer and survival, rising costs, long-term survival patients and increasing economic constraints. Research priorities need to be established within this context because they can encourage the new generation of nurses to respond competently to patients’ advanced care needs.
A systematic review was performed to compare and discuss nurses’ and cancer patients’ main cancer research priorities according to the PRISMA guidelines (PROSPERO registration: CRD42017059721). Studies retrieved were evaluated with a Mixed Methods Appraisal (MMAT). All medical databases were searched from January 2000 to July 2017. Study inclusion, data extraction, and assessment were performed by two researchers independently (inter-rater agreement, kappa =0.70; SE = 0.87; p < 0.01).
Among 16 studies identified, 13 included nurses’ research priorities, 2 patients’, and 1 both. They included descriptive cross-sectional (50%), Delphi (44%), and exploratory qualitative studies (6%). Qualitative studies varied from 75% to 100% of the total MMAT score. Nurses’ priorities were as follows: cancer behavioral psychological/social issues and professional dimensions. Patients’ priorities were patient life dimensions and health promotion. Cancer care dimensions and continuum of care emerged as research priorities of both.
The results underline nurses’ and patients’ research priorities to investigate the patients’ advanced care needs and provide a useful template to guide cancer-nursing research. Identifying priorities helps focus on particular issues rather than promoting isolated and unrelated studies of patients’ needs. Most of the nurses who participated were affiliated with professional associations and do not reflect the entire nursing population. Moreover, very similar survey questionnaires have been used (the items did not cover all areas) with the possible priorities not considered by participants. More studies are needed for the creation of a cancer research priority agenda.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
CRO Aviano National Cancer Institute.
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.