Nurses’ Caring Behaviors Toward Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy in Greece: A Mixed-Methods Study

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Abstract

Background

Nurses’ caring behaviors are central in the quality of care of patients undergoing sophisticated chemotherapy protocols. However, there is a scarcity of research regarding these behaviors in non–Anglo-Saxon countries.

Objective

The aim of this study was to explore caring behaviors that nurses perceive as important in caring for patients in Greece receiving chemotherapy.

Methods

We used a mixed-methods design, including a survey in 7 oncology wards in 3 cancer hospitals in Attica, Greece, and a subsequent qualitative focus group investigation. Caring behaviors were explored through the Caring Behavior Inventory 24 and content analysis of 3 focus group interviews.

Results

A sample of 72 nurses (response rate, 68.5%) were surveyed, and 18 nurses participated in the focus groups. “Knowledge/skills” (5 [SD, 0.7]) was the most important caring behaviors. No significant associations with nurses’ characteristics were noted, except for higher scores in caring behaviors in participants who were married (P < .02). Six caring-related categories emerged from the qualitative analysis: “the concept of care,” “respect,” “nurse-patients’ connection,” “empathy,” “fear of cancer,” and “nurses’ professional role.” Moreover, they stressed barriers they faced in each category.

Conclusions

Integrated quantitative and qualitative data concur that operational tasks are central in Greek nurses’ caring behaviors. In addition, qualitative findings highlighted those skills equipping nurses to provide holistic individualized care in a hectic care environment.

Implications for Practice

Supporting nurses in attaining excellence in technical skills and in meaningfully engaging with patients receiving chemotherapy is essential in the realization of their caring role. These should be priorities for continuing education and practice improvement initiatives.

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