Dying patients and their families often have unique physical, psychosocial, social and spiritual needs that require specialized End-of-Life (EOL) skills. Oncology nurses play a crucial role in palliative care and must be highly knowledgeable to ensure their practice are of a high quality standard. But there is currently little education for oncology nurses in the principles and practice of palliative care in China.
the central purpose of this study was to determine the baseline level of knowledge and attitudes regarding pain and End-of-Life (EOL) care of Chinese oncology nurses working in 14 hospital units in Cancer Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
Oncology nurses (N=313) representing 14 hospital units were administered the Professional End-of-Life Care Attitude Scale (PEAS) and the Knowledge and Attitude Survey Regarding Pain (KASRP).
Data analysis quantified total, personal, professional apprehension levels and average correct response rate of pain management and identified differences by professional degree, gender, department and personal experiences.
There were no difference in score by education degree (p＞0.05). All units showed a high level of apprehension in caring for dying patients. (Mean＝89,SD＝5.12). Individuals with less nursing experience reported higher personal communication apprehension scores. The average correct response rate was 49.5 % with rates ranging from 23.5 %to 84.5 % for each survey question. It was only positively correlated to length of working experience in oncology units (p＜0.05).
The results of this study support the universal concern of inadequate knowledge and attitudes of nurses to cancer pain management and End-of-Life care. These findings will inform the development of appropriate care education for oncology nurses working in this hospital. Educational and quality improvement initiates in pain management and End-of-Life care could enhance nurses’ knowledge base in the area of pain and palliative care and possibly improve practices.