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Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010 Fall;15(4):245-51.

Do nurses provide holistic care to cancer patients?

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  • 1Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.



In order to support cancer patients, nurses need to identify different physio-psycho- social needs of patients using a holistic approach. Focusing on Quality of Life (QoL) is congruent with the philosophy of a holistic approach in nursing. The main aim of this research study thus was to identify the level of agreement between cancer patients and nurses about cancer patients' QoL.


The study was a survey which was completed in 2008. 166 cancer patients and 95 nurses were conveniently recruited from three major hospitals in Adelaide, Australia. Each patient and nurse was invited to complete the World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief (WHOQoL-BREF) questionnaire separately. This questionnaire considers QoL across four domains or dimensions: physical health, psychological health, social relationship and environment.


The proportion of the exact agreement between the two groups was 34.9%, 34.5%, 33.8% and 36.9% for the physical, psychological, social relationship, and environmental QoL domains, respectively.


Results may indicate that nurses do not have a holistic understanding of cancer patients' QoL. QoL tools like the World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief (WHOQoL-BREF) might be used as guidelines for nurses to assess cancer patients' QoL rather than relying heavily on their perceptions and intuitions. The results provide some implications for Iran.


Nursing; nurses; oncology; patients; quality of life; questionnaires; world health organization

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