Experiences of non-specialist nurses caring for patients and their significant others undergoing transitions during palliative end-of-life cancer care: a systematic review

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Abstract

Background

Non-specialist nurses, who are providing palliative end-of-life cancer care to patients and significant others undergoing psychosocial and existential transitions, may experience dissatisfaction, frustration and sorrow. On the other hand, they may also experience happiness, increased knowledge and personal growth.

Objective/question

What are non-specialist nurses’ experiences when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care that involves the psychosocial and existential transitions of their patients and significant others?

Inclusion criteria Types of participants

The current review considered studies that included a description of the experiences of non-specialist trained registered nurses (RNs) working in non-specialist wards.

Phenomena of interest

The current review considered studies that investigated experiences of RNs when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care that involves the psychosocial and existential transitions of their patients and significant others.

Context

The contact and care for patients and their significant others during palliative end-of-life cancer care.

Types of studies

The current review considered studies that focused on qualitative data including, but not limited to, designs such as phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, action research and feminist research.

Search strategy

The search aimed at finding both published and unpublished studies in English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and German, and was unrestricted by time. Eleven electronic databases and seven websites were searched.

Methodological quality

Methodological validity of the qualitative papers was assessed independently by two reviewers using the standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-QARI).

Data extraction

Data were extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from the JBI-QARI.

Data synthesis

Qualitative research findings were synthesized using the JBI-QARI.

Results

A total of 81 findings were extracted from the three studies and allocated to five categories and merged into a meta-synthesis with the overarching synthesized finding related to the challenges that non-specialist nurses faced when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care. The summary of findings is illustrated below.

Conclusion

The studies in this review provided useful and credible statements from non-specialist nurses working in non-specialist wards about their challenges when providing palliative end-of-life cancer care to patients and their significant others undergoing psychosocial and existential transitions.

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