Shared Structure Allows Nurses to Drive the Decision-Making Process
As a unit staff nurse, have you ever thought, “I wish they would’ve asked my opinion before making that change in practice?” Many times throughout my career I’ve thought just that, but I’d never been in a position where I could share my opinions. However, getting involved in a shared decision making (SDM) structure opened up new opportunities for me.
Research Sheds Light on the Complexities of Shared Decision Making
Making a treatment decision for a cancer diagnosis is a very complex and challenging event for patients. This is particularly evident among men with prostate cancer. Because so many treatment options exist, often without a single best therapeutic or medical outcome, many men with prostate cancer may have challenges when making a treatment decision. Most patients rely on their providers to help them better understand their diagnosis, available treatments, impact, and side effects from treatment, but patients will ultimately seek external information to inform their decision-making process.
Geriatric Assessments Can Improve Shared Decision Making, Patient Satisfaction
As people age, their risk for cancer increases, and so too does the complexity of their cancer care. Older patients with cancer typically present with age-related conditions like comorbidities, functional problems, falling, and polypharmacy, which are not as widely discussed in the oncology space as they should be. Age-
related concerns can influence outcomes for patients with cancer and their caregivers, including treatment toxicity, hospitalization, and even early mortality.
How Shared Decision Making Affects Cancer Care
“Two heads are better than one” is an idiom so old and often used that it borders on cliché. But as with most colloquial sayings, a kernel of truth is buried underneath. Combining forces to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and coordinate efforts is the key to nearly every successful endeavor, and it’s especially true for patients and providers navigating the cancer journey.
Nurses Should Focus on Goal Setting and Shared Decision Making in Cancer Aftercare Conversations
Goal setting and shared decision making are important components of aftercare for cancer survivors. In the results of a study published in conjunction with the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, researchers shared their experience developing and pretesting a systematic conversation approach for nurses to tailor the aftercare needs and goals of cancer survivors.