Why differences exist? an interpretive approach to nurses' perceptions of cancer patients' quality of life

Masoud Bahrami


  • BACKGROUND: Based on the literature review that was conducted, no research study has been found in Australia to provide a detailed understanding of why nurses differ in their perceptions about cancer patients’ Quality of Life (QoL) when they  communicate with patients in oncology wards.
  • METHODS: This descriptive exploratory qualitative study was completed in 2007 in two major public hospitals in Adelaide, South Australia. 10 nurses from different inpatient and outpatient oncology services and a palliative setting took part in semi-structured interviews.
  • RESULTS: After the data collection and analysis six main themes were identified. Differences in nurses’ perceptions about cancer patients’ QoL were discussed in the light of the sub theme “relationship and rapport”.
  • CONCLUSIONS: In general, participants commented that differences existing between patients’ and nurses’ perceptions about cancer patients’ QoL were due to a poor relationship and rapport between cancer patients and their nurses. Therefore, nurses need to have a genuine interest to make an open relationship with patients in a non-judgmental way. This rapport needs to go beyond the patient and include other health care professionals as well as the patient’s family.
  • KEY WORDS: Cancer, quality of life, nurses, patients, qualitative research, perceptions.

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