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04.05.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 10/2018

Supportive Care in Cancer 10/2018

Patients’ characteristics informing practice: improving individualized nursing care in the radiation oncology setting

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 10/2018
Pauline M. Rose



A large number of patients attend for radiotherapy daily. Primary nurses in the study settings aim to individualize care for their patients. The individual characteristics of patients may determine their perceptions of nursing care, and provide guidance in tailoring their care. This study aimed to assess patients’ personal characteristics on their perceptions of individualized care (IC) provided by nurses during a course of radiotherapy, and to determine predictor variables that may inform nursing practice.


This cross-sectional, exploratory study was conducted in three radiotherapy departments in Australia. Patients (n = 250) completed the Individualized Care Scale_Patient (ICS_P). Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, univariate analysis, and multiple regression analysis.


Males reported significantly higher perceptions of IC than females in 7/9 subscales. Patients with head and neck and prostate cancer, as well as those requiring hospitalization during radiotherapy, scored significantly higher in 5/9 subscales. Courses > 30 days, those not receiving chemotherapy, and partnered patients reported greater IC across all subscales. Gender and hospitalization were the main predictor variables for IC.


Patients reported moderately high levels of IC during their radiotherapy; however, standard demographic information may provide limited insight into improving care for the individual. Patient characteristics routinely chosen, such as age, gender, and education may not predict how patients perceive their care or support the tailoring of interventions to improve IC. Researching a range of related patient characteristics may prove a more useful concept for future nursing studies aiming to predict outcomes to tailor nursing practice.

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