Implementation and evaluation of a new model of nursing practice in radiation oncology

Rose, Pauline Mary-Therese (2010) Implementation and evaluation of a new model of nursing practice in radiation oncology. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Patients undergoing radiation therapy for cancer face a series of challenges that require support from a multidisciplinary team which includes radiation oncology nurses. However, the specific contribution of nursing, and the models of care that best support the delivery of nursing interventions in the radiotherapy setting, is not well described.

In this case study, the Interaction Model of Client Health Behaviour and the associated principles of person-centred care were incorporated into a new model of care that was implemented in one radiation oncology setting in Brisbane, Australia. The new model of care was operationalised through a Primary Nursing/Collaborative Practice framework. To evaluate the impact of the new model for patients and health professionals, multiple sources of data were collected from patients and clinical staff prior to, during, and 18 months following introduction of the practice redesign. One cohort of patients and clinical staff completed surveys incorporating measures of key outcomes immediately prior to implementation of the model, while a second cohort of patients and clinical staff completed these same surveys 18 months following introduction of the model. In-depth interviews were also conducted with nursing, medical and allied health staff throughout the implementation phase to obtain a more comprehensive account of the processes and outcomes associated with implementing such a model.

From the patients’ perspectives, this study demonstrated that, although adverse effects of radiotherapy continue to affect patient well-being, patients continue to be satisfied with nursing care in this specialty, and that they generally reported high levels of functioning despite undergoing a curative course of radiotherapy. From the health professionals’ perspective, there was evidence of attitudinal change by nursing staff within the radiotherapy department which reflected a greater understanding and appreciation of a more person-centred approach to care. Importantly, this case study has also confirmed that a range of factors need to be considered when redesigning nursing practice in the radiotherapy setting, as the challenges associated with changing traditional practices, ensuring multidisciplinary approaches to care, and resourcing a new model were experienced.

The findings from this study suggest that the move from a relatively functional approach to a person-centred approach in the radiotherapy setting has contributed to some improvements in the provision of individualised and coordinated patient care. However, this study has also highlighted that primary nursing may be limited in its approach as a framework for patient care unless it is supported by a whole team approach, an appropriate supportive governance model, and sufficient resourcing. Introducing such a model thus requires effective education, preparation and ongoing support for the whole team.

The challenges of providing care in the context of complex interdisciplinary relationships have been highlighted by this study. Aspects of this study may assist in planning further nursing interventions for patients undergoing radiotherapy for cancer, and continue to enhance the contribution of the radiation oncology nurse to improved patient outcomes.

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ID Code: 37646
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Yates, Patricia & Courtney, Mary
Keywords: case study, nursing , radiotherapy, models of care, person-centred care
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Sep 2010 04:15
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:00

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