• To read about the experiences of people with chronic cancer in developing expertise in their condition
• To be aware of areas in which CNSs can support people with chronic cancer to develop expertise in their condition
• To recognise the need for specialised nurse-led services to support people with chronic cancer to manage and understand their condition
Background The lifting of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions in the UK has meant a near-full return to normal life for the general population. However, for patients with chronic cancer, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains high because they are immunocompromised, and they may have various unmet support needs.
Aim To identify areas in which clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) can support people with chronic cancer in the UK to develop expertise in their condition, acting to minimise the risks of anxiety and depression in this population.
Method Narrative online interviews were conducted with seven people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Transcripts were analysed using thematic and narrative methodologies.
Findings Two themes were identified. The first theme, holes in the system, explored the perceived position of chronic cancers at the bottom of the cancer hierarchy, which can cause patients to feel overlooked in terms of NHS service provision. The second theme, co-developed expertise, explored the mechanisms used by patients with chronic cancer to develop expertise in their condition and the role of specialised healthcare professionals in co-developing this expertise.
Conclusion Although the participants often felt let down by the healthcare system, support from CNSs was beneficial and empowered them to develop expertise in their condition. This indicates that there is a need for dedicated nurse-led chronic cancer pathways to minimise the risk of cancer-related anxiety and depression.
Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2023.e1851Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Montague-Hellen K (2023) Role of clinical nurse specialists in supporting people with chronic cancer to develop expertise in their condition. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2023.e1851Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank Dr Abigail Tazzyman for supervising her Master’s dissertation project and the STH Writing for Publication Workshop team for guiding her through the publication process
Published online: 09 October 2023
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