Cancer does present an initial hardship for patients. But in the days, weeks, months, and years after treatment has started and stopped, the adverse effects (AEs) become an even greater challenge. Patients may present with common AEs such as nausea, alopecia, fatigue, and depression. However, low blood counts, diarrhea, shortness of breath, weakness, and skin alterations also plague them. These can be severe and debilitating for a patient and may negatively affect their day-to-day living, such as going to work, visiting with a friend, taking care of a household, or attending a child’s school event.
Symptom burden is an area in which oncology nurses can make improvements for their patients. In our cover story in the November/December 2017 issue of Oncology Nursing News, Carlton G. Brown, PhD, RN, AOCN, NEA-BC, FAAN, shares his expertise on symptom management. He discusses proactive solutions such as interventions used in cancer centers that have proven to be effective in symptom control and longer tolerance of treatment. Knowing the common symptoms associated with different cancer types and having access to guidelines, which Brown discusses, can lead nurses to deliver quality care for those fighting the disease.
Also in this issue of Oncology Nursing News®, tips on how to locate an intravenous port, choosing a needle, and ensuring successful access. A topic that many nurses can relate to: stress and burnout. Inside these pages, we explore a study that examined the burnout of nurses caring for actively dying patients. You will read about what researchers learned and the coping strategy they found to be effective.
Finally, the holiday season is among us. This means gift giving—something nurses encounter not only at this time of year. What should you do if a patient or their loved one offers you a present? This month’s Professionally Speaking column explores simple, yet useful, questions you can ask yourself before accepting or rejecting. Plus, advice on to how navigate the situation without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Also inside, the keys to effective communication with patients, fears and misconceptions of radiation therapy, and boosting quality of life for patients through yoga. We hope you find these articles informative, and as always, thank you for reading.
Mike Hennessy, Sr.
Chairman and CEO