Date of Conferral







Rachel Piferi


Psychosocial care for patients with cancer is aimed at detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of psychological distress (PD). PD is a universal clinical phenomenon experienced by at least 38% of patients with cancer, yet only10% are identified as having PD. Nurses are presumed providers of psychosocial care, yet no research examined what nurses perceive as their role in caring for patients with cancer, and whether nurses believe that providing psychosocial care to patients with cancer is within their role. Patient care that rests on assumptions is too precarious; nurses' role beliefs are critical in light of their impact on practice and psychological distress. Accordingly, a multinational sample of 10 nurses was snowball recruited for this focus group study to discuss prior research findings on psychological distress and the role of the nurse. Lazarus's cognitive motivational relational theory informed the study. Discussion narratives were coded for psychosocial care, role beliefs, barriers, and solutions. Provider domains were analyzed using Burnard's content thematic analysis method. Results indicated that nurses' role beliefs could not be determined as a barrier to psychosocial care; providing psychosocial care for all patients in all diagnoses was claimed as fundamental nursing work. However, nurses' current psychosocial care practice may fail to detect, treat, or prevent psychological distress, even in the absence of structural barriers. Nurses' psychosocial care appears to lack reflection on its clinical significance. Implications for social change include improving psychosocial care for patients and survivors of cancer that could result in improvements in quality of life.