Standardized fact sheets about clinical trial protocols can ensure compliance and improve communication between research teams and frontline nurses, nurse researchers reported in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. More than 85% of clinical research and frontline nurses said the sheets improved their understanding of the clinical trial protocol.

As the number and complexity of clinical trials at the research team’s institution increased, “bedside nurses requested a concise, easily accessible document with relevant protocol information to guide nursing practice.” The research team, which included ONS members Doyle Bosque, BSN, RN, CNML, and Kelly J. Brassil, PhD, RN, FAAN, developed a standardized communication tool (fact sheet) for nurses to use as a quick reference when caring for clinical trial participants. The sheets were also integrated into the institution’s electronic health record and linked to each participant’s individual record.

After creating more than 2,000 fact sheets, the team obtained approval to add a nursing research quality specialist (NRQS) role to review the sheets and manage their implementation in clinical practice. “Because the clinical research nurse had in-depth knowledge of the research protocol and was responsible for delivering study requirement education to the frontline staff, the NRQS was the ideal role to bridge the gap between the clinical research team and the clinical nursing staff,” researchers said. Since implementation, individual uses of the fact sheets increased from 3,200 in 2019 to 13,808 in 2022, a growth of 432%.

“This project highlights the importance of creating a tool that caters to the nursing perspective, as opposed to the research or medical perspective,” authors concluded. They emphasized the importance of clear communication among frontline providers and researchers to ensure patient safety and that “oncology nurses can lead innovations to improve clinical trial care coordination and communication.”

Learn more about the research team’s process for developing and implementing the fact sheets in the full Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing article, and find additional approaches and strategies to improve communication during care transitions in ONS Voice.