Evaluating the Role of Oncology Nurses in Managing Treatment-Related Adverse Events

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There has been a burgeoning increase in the breadth and complexity of treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) coinciding with the evolution of advances in cancer care.

Nurses play a key role in TRAE management; however, there is a dearth of research on this topic from their clinical perspective. Therefore, Fernandez-Ortega and colleagues created a worldwide online survey to address this lack of information.

The survey was provided in a range of languages, including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Cancer nurses were targeted with a specific focus on gastrointestinal (GI) cancer specialists.

Those who participated were asked about 6 main areas including basic professional demographics, assessment of persons with TRAE management responsibility; assessment of TRAE management guidelines; future TRAE improvement suggestions; assessment of TRAE management training and confidence; and resources for implementing and improving TRAE management.

The survey was disseminated using a database provided by a medical education company, existing social media platforms, the educational group GI Nurses CONNECT, and through professional nursing bodies. In June 2021, the survey went live and was scheduled to remain active for 6 to 8 weeks. Here, the results of responses received between July 7, 2021, and July 26, 2012, are presented.

Most respondents were from the United States (51%), Spain (20%), other European countries (16%), Latin America (6%) and Africa (2%). Most respondents worked with outpatients (67%), had ≥5 years of experience (78%), and saw >20 patients per week. The survey revealed that outpatient clinics (24%) and oncology hospitals (23%) were the most common settings; nearly one-third (31%) of respondents were medical oncology nurses and 13% were specialist cancer nurses. Generally, oncology nurses were the first point of contact for patients with an adverse event (63%), and management was conducted by a multidisciplinary care team (38%), oncology nurse (26%), or oncologist (21%). Patient (49%) and nurse (62%) education were found to be among the most important factors for improving TRAE management.

The investigators concluded that an improved understanding of the nurse’s perspective on TRAE management is likely to improve outcomes and patient care as well as identify opportunities for improved medical education.


Fernandez-Ortega P, Wittmer BA, Pinheiro NA, Belardi P. The role of oncology nurses in treatment-related adverse event management: an international online survey. Ann Oncol. 2021;32(suppl_5):S1277.

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