Exploring the work of nurses who administer chemotherapy to children and young people

Faith Gibson*, Lisa Shipway, Susie Aldiss, Jeanette Hawkins, Wendy King, Margaret Parr, Deborah Ridout, Rebecca Verity, Rachel M. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of the research: To explore the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of nurses who administer chemotherapy to children and young people.

Methods and sample: A national postal survey of nurses working within the 21 cancer centres in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The questionnaire included 25-items addressing the attitudes, beliefs and concerns regarding nurses' roles, support mechanisms and educational preparation related to administration of chemotherapy.

Results: In total 286/507 (56%) questionnaires were returned. The majority of nurses worked in inpatient +/-outpatient (78%) settings and most gave chemotherapy on a daily basis (61%). The median time working in oncology was 10 [range 0.5-32] years and time administering chemotherapy was 8 [0.1-32] years. Aspects of administration that caused the most worry included treatment side-effects, extravasation, dealing with allergic/anaphylactic reactions and knowledge deficits in colleagues. There was no significant difference in worry according to level of nurse education but those with an oncology qualification had less Knowledge-related worry (p = 0.05). There was no difference in attitude according to level of education or having an oncology qualification. There were significant correlations between time qualified, time working in oncology and the number of years administering chemotherapy and the worry domains (ranging from r = -0.14 to r = -0.24, p < 0.05); and attitude to chemotherapy (ranging from r = 0.12 to r = 0.26, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: As anticipated nurses new to chemotherapy administration were initially anxious about the role and they worried about making a drug error. Education and support from colleagues appears to have a positive effect on reducing worry and increasing competence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Chemotherapy
  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Competence


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