How healthcare professionals contribute to hope in patients with cancer.

L. Koopmeiners, J. Post-White, S. Gutknecht, C. Ceronsky, K. Nickelson, D. Drew, K. W. Mackey, M. J. Kreitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To explore whether healthcare professionals influence the level of hope in patients with cancer and, if so, how they influence their hope. DESIGN: Descriptive, qualitative design. SETTING: An adult hematology/oncology unit in the upper midwestern United States. SAMPLE: Thirty-two men and women receiving active or supportive treatment or palliative care for cancer. METHODS: Semistructured interviews conducted in the participants' hospital rooms. Ten investigators and two consultants transcribed and analyzed the interview data using content analysis. They identified themes and subthemes that described healthcare professionals' roles. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Healthcare professionals' contributions to hope as described by patients with cancer. FINDINGS: Healthcare professionals positively and negatively influenced hope in this sample. Hope was facilitated by being present, giving information, and demonstrating caring behaviors. Negative influences on hope primarily concerned the way in which healthcare professionals gave information. CONCLUSION: Healthcare professionals do influence patients' perceptions of their hope. Although most nursing actions are hope enhancing, nurses can reduce a patient's sense of hope if information provided or attitude toward the patient is insensitive or disrespectful. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses can increase patients' hope by being present, taking time to talk, and being helpful. They must provide information and answer questions in a compassionate, positive, honest, and respectful manner. Caring behaviors such as thoughtful gestures, showing warmth and genuineness, and being friendly and polite also increase patients' hope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1513
Number of pages7
JournalOncology nursing forum
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 1997

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