Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Moorhead, Sue

First Committee Member

Moorhead, Sue

Second Committee Member

Swanson, Elizabeth

Third Committee Member

Ansley, Timothy

Fourth Committee Member

Brokel, Jane

Fifth Committee Member

Butcher, Howard


The purpose of this study was to identify the characteristics of cancer patients and the most frequently chosen nursing diagnoses, outcomes and interventions chosen for care plans from a large Midwestern acute care hospital. In addition the patients' outcome change scores and length of stay from the four oncology specialty units are investigated. Donabedian's structure-process-outcome model is the framework for this study. This is a descriptive retrospective study. The sample included a total of 2,237 patients admitted on four oncology units from June 1 to December 31, 2010. Data were retrieved from medical records, the nursing documentation system, and the tumor registry center. Demographics showed that 63% of the inpatients were female, 89% were white, 53 % were married and 26% were retired. Most patients returned home (82%); and 2% died in the hospital. Descriptive analysis identified that the most common nursing diagnoses for oncology inpatients were Acute Pain (78%), Risk for Infection (31%), and Nausea (26%). Each cancer patient had approximately 3.1 nursing diagnoses (SD=2.5), 6.3 nursing interventions (SD=5.1), and 3.7 nursing outcomes (SD=2.9). Characteristics of the patients were not found to be related to LOS (M=3.7) or outcome change scores for Pain Level among the patients with Acute Pain. Specifically, 88% of patients retained or improved outcome change scores.

The most common linkage of NANDA-I, NOC, and NIC (NNN), a set of standardized nursing terminologies used in the study that represents nursing diagnoses, nursing-sensitive patient outcomes and nursing interventions, prospectively, was Acute Pain--Pain Level--Pain Management. Pain was the dominant concept in the nursing care provided to oncology patients. Risk for Infection was the most frequent nursing diagnosis in the Adult Leukemia and Bone Transplant Unit. Patients with both Acute Pain and Risk for Infection may differ among units; while the traditional study strategies rarely demonstrate this finding. Identifying the pattern of core diagnoses, interventions, and outcomes for oncology nurses can direct nursing care in clinical practice and provide direction for future research tot targets areas of high impact and guide education and evaluation of nurse competencies.


cancer, electronic health records, length of stay, nursing care plan, nursing sensitive patient outcome, standarized terminologies


xi, 247 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 240-247).


Copyright 2012 Hui-Chen Tseng

Included in

Nursing Commons