The nurse-patient interaction during rehabilitation consultations in patients surgically treated for head and neck cancer– a qualitative study

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Purpose: Patients treated surgically for head and neck cancer may experience detrimental early and late effects of their treatment and are in need of rehabilitation post treatment to alleviate symptoms and effects. This study aimed to explore nurse-patient interactions during rehabilitation consultations assessing needs of patients in order to understand how nurses and patients experienced the consultation, the extent to which patients experienced being involved in the needs assessment and how patients experienced the information delivered. Methods: Findings in this study drew on three data sources: 15 observations of nurse-patient interactions during rehabilitation consultations; 15 individual patient interviews and a focus group interview with nurses. Observations and individual patient interviews took place at three different time points during the patient trajectory. The method and analysis applied Interpretive Description and Systematic Text Condensation. Analysis was performed across all three data sources and three time points. Results: Four interrelated themes were identified, showing that conducting rehabilitation nursing consultations and actively involving patients is a complex process. The themes revealed the complexity: expectations for nurse-patient interaction differ; challenges of building rapport; barriers to adequately identifying rehabilitation needs; and factors inhibiting communication of advice and recommendations. Uncovering emotional needs were especially challenging. Patient further experienced an information overload, especially just prior to discharge. Conclusion: Nurse-patient interaction in the rehabilitation consultation is complex and involves many different interrelated aspects that require the nurse to have the necessary interpersonal and professional skills to support the patient to enhance their involvement in the encounter.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
StatusUdgivet - 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This study is part of the Models of Cancer Care Research Program at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital and funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation (grant no: NNF16OC0022338 ) and Danish Nurses Organization (grant no: OTS/DSc ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

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