Nurses’ Perceived Challenges in the Management of Hospitalized Cancer Patients in a Comprehensive Cancer Center in Southeastern Nigeria

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Health Science and Technology, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria.


Objective: Nurses’ challenges in poor-resource countries like Nigeria have been understudied. This study determined nurses’ perceived challenges in management of hospitalized cancer patients in a comprehensive cancer center in southeast of Nigeria. Methods: The descriptive study included 133 registered nurses working in medical-surgical and oncology wards.  A 37-item questionnaire included seven (7) questions on socioeconomic, 16 questions related to nurse’s knowledge, and 14 questions related to cancer treatment and the hospital facility.  A significant challenge was defined as a mean score of more than 3 in a Likert scale 5 points. Results: Challenges included a shortage of nurses (inadequate numbers of skilled nurses in oncology and other wards with mean±sd score (4.73±0.58), lack of continuing education  on current trends in the management of cancer (4.03±0.45), and lack of oncology trained nursing experts for job mentoring (4.24±0.77). Others were managing patients facing chemotherapy related side-effects (3.06±2.12), high cost of treatment borne by cancer patients (4.41±0.68) and exorbitant hospital bills (4.72±0.48), non-availability of drugs (4.09±0.87) and institutional policy bottlenecks affecting subsidizing treatment costs (4.09±0.84). Cancer care affected mainly by inadequate and functional equipment (4.24±0.55), and with no staff remuneration (4.53± 0.85). Conclusion: Nurses’ Perceived Challenges were related to professional, institutional, and those related to patient. 


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