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NCPD Article

Advance Care Planning: Having Goals-of-Care Conversations in Oncology Nursing

Jean E. Boucher
CJON 2021, 25(3), 333-336 DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.333-336

Patients with advanced-stage cancer face serious life-limiting illness while receiving palliative treatment, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy. Advance care planning and goals-of-care conversations are important to have with patients with curable or incurable cancer. Oncology nurses can play an important role by having the knowledge and skills required to communicate with patients and families about advance care planning and goals of care during acute and outpatient care. Patient decision tools and aids include guides for advance care planning, goals of care, and related patient resources for acquiring knowledge and skills.


  • Oncology nurses play an essential role in advance care planning and goals-of-care conversations for patients with cancer.
  • Communication about advance care planning, goals of care, and palliative care should begin early and include all patients diagnosed with cancer.
  • Oncology nurses require training and tools to assist in advance care planning and creating goals of care, with a comprehensive assessment of patients’ goals, values, and preferences.

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