The complexity of living with, being treated for or dying from cancer present numerous issues and needs for patients and their families. Many those are appropriately dealt with based on oncology nursing. Despite this most general oncology outpatient clinics in Sweden are physician-led. The development of general nurse-led cancer care services has been suggested to improve the care of cancer patients. Consequently a general oncology nursing outpatient clinic has been implemented. The aim of this study was to describe the feasibility of organizing an oncology nursing outpatient clinic, its implementation and outcomes.
This study had a descriptive multi methods design. Qualitative data to describe nurses, physicians and managers perspectives was collected and analysed with qualitative content analysis. Quantitative data was collected for referral, for patients’ problems being within nurses’ competences and for patient views of the quality of the care they received.
The oncology nursing clinic became a valid complement to the existing organisation. The use of the nursing competence in a more structured way resulted in greater possibilities for patients to get relevant care for their problems. The continuity of and access to care improved. Experiences from patients can be summarised as better quality care. The implementation of the clinic was described as a way of “putting the right competence in the right place”. The clinic was both part of the oncology team and had an autonomic function. For most of the patients problems presented the nurses could independently solve them, for some they had to contact the oncologist. Before the implementation of the clinic most expectations were high and at the follow-up mostly described as fulfilled. The implementation can be seen as a process with some difficulties that had to be solved but the use of the clinic has constantly increased over time.
The implementation of a general oncology nursing outpatient clinic is a feasible way to improve patient care. Due to the positive results the clinic is now a permanent part of the organisation. The implementation process could have been improved as it took nearly a year to get the oncology nurse outpatient clinic to run efficiently.
Clinical trial identification
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Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.