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Nurs Ethics. 2009 Sep;16(5):528-42. doi: 10.1177/0969733009106647.

Cancer patients' perceptions of the good nurse: a literature review.

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Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


This article discusses findings from a mixed method literature review that investigated cancer patients' perceptions of what constitutes a good nurse. To find pertinent articles, we conducted a systematic key word search of five journal databases (1998-2008). The application of carefully constructed inclusion criteria and critical appraisal identified 12 relevant articles. According to the patients, good nurses were shown to be characterized by specific, but inter-related, attitudes, skills and knowledge; they engage in person-to-person relationships, respect the uniqueness of patients, and provide support. Professional and trained skills as well as broad and specific nursing and non-nursing knowledge are important. The analysis revealed that these characteristics nurtured patient well-being, which manifests as optimism, trust, hope, support, confirmation, safety and comfort. Cancer patients' perceptions of what constitutes a good nurse represent an important source of knowledge that will enable the development of more comprehensive and practice-based views on good nursing care for such patients. These perceptions help us to understand how nurses effectively make a difference in cancer patient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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