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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2010 Feb;14(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2009.06.008. Epub 2009 Sep 5.

Defining the scope of haematology nursing practice in Europe.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Rämistrasse 100, Ost4 E/121a, CH-8091 Zürich, Switzerland.



The changing role of haematology nurses has never been mapped systematically which makes it difficult to plan practice development initiatives in a strategic manner.


A survey was conducted to gain insight into the role of European haematology nurses and identify their learning needs.


Two hundred and seventy one questionnaires were completed by nurses from 25 countries, most of who were unit-based clinical nurses (116, 43%), had 10 years or more of experience in haematology (56%) and no specialist qualification (65%). The most common professional activities undertaken involved the detection and management of side effect. Respondents believe that they are well trained, possess good communication skills and play a key role within the multidisciplinary team. However, a small but significant number of nurses indicated that they had a limited role to play in patient education (42%) and only 38% (102) agreed that they played an important role in facilitating patient choice. Lack of time, limited course availability and staff shortages are perceived as key barriers to developing practice.


Nurses are most interested in receiving further education about graft versus host disease and late effects of treatment. The knowledge component of the questionnaire revealed numerous deficits. Demographic factors such as role and experience had a significant influence on responses.

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