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  8. Exploring the impact of lung cancer specialist nurses on access to anti-cancer treatment: an exploratory case study

Exploring the impact of lung cancer specialist nurses on access to anti-cancer treatment: an exploratory case study

Lead investigators Angela Tod, Ann McDonnell, Judy Redman
Funded by General Nursing Council Trust & National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses
Amount £24,775
Dates September 2012 - September 2013

Aim

To conduct an initial exploration to generate understanding of the role of the Lung Cancer Specialist Nurses (LCSN) within the lung cancer multi-disciplinary team, identify factors that assist the nurses in increasing treatment access for people with lung cancer, and to generate recommendations for MDTs and for future research.

While there is potential for a larger case study research project incorporating more extensive data collection from a broader range of stakeholders (including other MDT members and patients), this study will be limited to four short case studies.

Impact

This study will provide data to guide the development of future research, including case study and survey research, to broaden understanding and test the generalisability of findings.

We anticipate the study findings will be of interest to all lung cancer disciplinary groups in terms of interpreting the National Lung Cancer Audit finding that access to specialist nursing was a factor in whether patients received treatment. 64% of patients seen by a LCSN received anti-cancer treatment, compared to 30% of those who did not see a LCSN (Ford, 2011, The Lancet 2011). Such treatment includes chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

The project will inform the response of the NLCFN to the NLCA findings. This initial case study project will be conducted alongside further interrogation and analysis of the LCSN fields in the NLCA. However, even if the accuracy and completeness of audit data is improved, and additional audit data generated, there is still a need for more qualitative insight to explain how and why the proposed association is occurring. In addition, understanding how the role of LCSN can improve patient outcomes through, for example, facilitating treatment access, is vital if the NHS is going to meet the current patient experience and service quality requirements (NICE 2012). 

Specialist Nurses are increasingly asked to cover staff shortages and contribute to efficiency saving by working outside their area. The understanding generated by this study will help to inform decisions regarding allocation of specialist nursing resource, in order to reduce current inequalities in service provision. It will provide insight into how impacts of LCSN resource can be maximized and evidence to support the effectiveness of the LCSN role (The Lancet, 2011).

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