Cancer Survivors’ Perceived Knowledge of Survivorship Care After Receiving a Survivorship Care Plan and Treatment Summary
Susan L. Brady, BSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG; Bonnie Schleder, EdD, APRN, CCRN
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington, IL
Background: Currently, there are 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. A survivor’s knowledge of their disease can influence their illness perception and quality of life. Cancer survivors often lack the knowledge to manage medical and psychosocial problems.
Purpose: To determine if the implementation of an individualized survivorship care plan and treatment summary, provided by a nurse navigator, results in an increased perception of survivor care knowledge.
Methods: The study utilized a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design. After meeting inclusion criteria and obtaining informed consent, the patients were given a 13-item survey tool (Likert scale) that measured perceived knowledge of survivorship care. The valid and reliable tool assessed patients’ agreement with statements concerning knowledge related to disease effects and treatment. During the initial visit with the nurse navigator, all patients were then provided their survivorship care plan and treatment summary. At their final visit, the patients were asked to complete the same survey tool again.
Results: The study recruited 64 radiation oncology patients. Paired t tests demonstrated a significant increase in perceived knowledge (P <.05) for all aspects of the survey except for knowledge regarding the provider responsible for screening for other cancers (P = .24). Statistically significant items included emotional effects, physical/long-term effects, financial resources, and other concerns. There were no significant findings in mean difference by sex or education level.
Conclusion: Patients who received a survivorship care plan and treatment summary demonstrated an increase in perceived knowledge regarding their survivorship care and treatment.
Implications for practice: These encouraging findings indicate the benefit of the survivorship care plan and treatment summary provided by the nurse navigator for patients undergoing cancer treatment. Nurses often question the value of care plans, and this study may assist in answering this question.