Oncology: Improving Nursing Competency and Skill

Aloma Aneita Gray, Walden University


Patients diagnosed with cancer often require interventions for the accompanying mental health distress of their diagnosis; patients' mental distress can lead to hopelessness and noncompliance. Improvements for assessment and interventions are needed. This project provides recommendations for improving oncological nursing knowledge by implementing competencies for nurses through educational modules, focusing on nursing approach, confidence, and interventions necessary for understanding methods of treatment and the measurement of distress in oncology and oncological treatment. Using established standards and competencies will improve knowledge and skill in inpatient settings. Current established nursing standards from the American Nursing Association, Institute Of Medicine/National Comprehensive Cancer Network, C-Change, and Public Mental Health Essentials were explored in order to identify gaps and create a list of recommended competencies for oncology nursing. Six associated adaptable educational modules were developed based on the adult education framework of Knowles, and participant training entailed proper use and comprehension of the Distress Thermometer for measurement of distress. The C-Change observation displayed participant (n = 102) results of approximately 119% improvement, which was observed in knowledge, communication, and confidence. Participants used the resources to reduce distress levels by initiating the selected established interventions for management, all of which was made evident in patient self-reported outcomes, using resources from published, established, standardized competencies. Having such training will allow for improved care for patients with cancer, thus having an influence on positive social change.