Mental health distress: Oncology nurses’ strategies and barriers in identifying distress in patients with cancer

Leeat Granek*, Ora Nakash, Samuel Ariad, Shahar Shapira, Merav Ben-David

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Oncology nurses have an important role in identifying mental health distress; however, the research to date indicates that oncology nurses often do not accurately detect this distress. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study is to explore oncology nurses’ perspectives on indicators of distress in patients, the strategies they use in identifying these signs of distress, and the barriers they face in recognizing these indicators. METHODS: Twenty oncology nurses were interviewed. The study used the grounded theory method of data collection and analysis. FINDINGS: Nurses relied on a number of emotional and behavioral indicators to assess distress. Nurses reported that indicators of mental health distress often were expressed by patients or their caregivers. Strategies to identify distress were limited, with nurses reporting that their only method was directly asking the patient. Barriers to identifying distress included patients concealing distress, nurses’ lack of training, and time constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of Oncology Nursing
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Funding

FundersFunder number
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

    Keywords

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Distress management
    • Prevention and detection

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