The gap in basic nursing for cancer patients

Lesley Fallowfield, DBE, BSc, DPhil, FMedSci of Brighton & Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, UK discusses the gap in basic nursing when it comes cancer care. Prof. Fallowfield explains that for the past decade, there has been a transformation in the world of cancer in terms of many novel drugs and new procedures that give patients a genuine chance of surviving longer. However, the problem is that there has not been an equivalent of concentration on basic nursing care for patients. Many surveys have shown that the focus is always on treatment, new drugs, access to new drugs while forgetting that patients also need to feel cared for. Patients need healthcare professionals and nurses who introduce themselves, who speak to them in a language that is understandable about the logic behind these new treatments and nurses who will look after them even when it comes to small basic needs like brushing their hair or straightening their sheets. Prof. Fallowfield explains that although none of these things take a lot of time or money, they are still being neglected. She goes on to discuss some results from a survey that was carried out by approximately two thousand nurses in the UK. Almost half said they would not want a friend or relative to be cared for on a ward on their hospital. Furthermore, more than half said they when they visited a friend or relative in hospital, they themselves had had to perform basic nursing duties for them. She explains that these things must be changed and basic nursing duties must become more of a common practice amongst all nurses. Recorded at the 2016 Annual Conference of the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS), held in Brighton, UK.

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