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Impact of a Pivot Nurse in Oncology on Patients With Lung or Breast Cancer: Symptom Distress, Fatigue, Quality of Life, and Use of Healthcare Resources

Myriam Skrutkowski

Andréanne Saucier

Margaret Eades

Marika Swidzinski

Judith Ritchie

Caroline Marchionni

Martin Ladouceur

symptom distress, fatigue, quality of life, health resources, nurse role
ONF 2008, 35(6), 948-954. DOI: 10.1188/08.ONF.948-954

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the impact on continuity of nursing care delivered by a pivot nurse in oncology to improve symptom relief and outcomes for patients with lung or breast cancer.

Design: Randomized controlled trial in which participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 93) with care by a pivot nurse in oncology and usual care by clinic nurses or to a control group (n = 97) with usual care only.

Setting: Three outpatient ambulatory oncology clinics in a large university health center in Quebec, Canada.

Sample: 113 patients with lung cancer and 77 patients with breast cancer.

Methods: Participants in both groups completed the Symptom Distress Scale, Brief Fatigue Inventory, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Scale-General version 4 at eight intervals over six months. Healthcare usage was evaluated through a review of hospital records.

Main Research Variables: Symptom distress, fatigue level, quality of life, and healthcare usage.

Findings: Researchers found no significant differences in symptom distress, fatigue, quality of life, and healthcare usage between groups.

Conclusions: The new nursing role did not have an impact on the patient outcomes under study.

Implications for Nursing: Experienced nurses with specialized knowledge of oncology symptom assessment and management may reduce the symptom burden experienced by ambulatory patients with breast or lung cancer during active treatment.

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