• To acknowledge the existential concerns of people with cancer and the importance of addressing them
• To gain evidence on facilitators and barriers to the exploration of existential concerns with patients
• To read about resources that can support cancer nurses to address their patients’ existential concerns
Background Existential concerns are common among people with cancer, but many of them perceive a lack of support from healthcare professionals in this area.
Aim To enhance the understanding of NHS nurses’ attitudes and beliefs regarding the exploration of existential concerns in people with cancer and to collect information about the facilitators and barriers to providing existential support to patients in nursing practice.
Method A questionnaire developed by the researchers was used to explore the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of 29 nurses working in cancer services across the UK regarding the exploration of existential concerns with patients.
Findings Most participants believed cancer gives rise to existential concerns, but the degree to which they explored these with patients varied. The factors that most influenced participants’ ability to explore existential concerns were their ease around addressing existential concerns; whether they felt that addressing existential concerns was beneficial; and whether they felt an expectation to address existential concerns. Findings also showed a need for training.
Conclusion Holistic needs assessments, comprehensive psychological training and reflective practice are fundamental resources that can support cancer nurses to address the existential concerns of their patients.
Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1805Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Lagerdahl A, Scalpello A, Brown M et al (2022) Nurses’ attitudes and beliefs around exploring the existential concerns of people with cancer. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1805
Published online: 25 May 2022
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