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Clinical Moment

How Can I Change My Patients’ Treatment Decision Making by Becoming a Nurse Scientist?

Tamryn F. Gray
CJON 2017, 21(2), 263 DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.263

“What would you do?” I have heard this question numerous times throughout my nursing career by patients and families affected by cancer. As a pediatric blood and marrow transplantation nurse, I have often seen patients and their families wrestle with difficult treatment decisions. I have witnessed parents struggle between beginning end-of-life care for their child, or pursuing a risky but potentially life-saving clinical trial. With science driving advances in cancer treatments and patients playing more active roles in their care, uncertainty around cancer treatment decisions will only become more complicated. For me, being a good nurse meant helping these patients navigate this uncertainty. I was compelled to pursue research to understand the process patients experience as they make treatment decisions, who they choose to involve in decision making, and what role the unique nurse–patient relationship could play in facilitating patient-centered decisions.

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