Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 2457–2464 | Cite as

A need for cancer patient education from the perspective of Chinese patients and nurses: a comparison study

  • Ruishuang ZhengEmail author
  • Judith (Judi) Johnson
  • Qi Wang
  • Jingmin Hu
Original Article



Little is known about Chinese cancer patients’ desire for cancer education, nor what cancer nurses perceive their cancer patients need to know about cancer. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for cancer patient education from both patients’ and nurses’ perspectives.


A descriptive, correlational study was conducted by surveying 49 Chinese cancer patients and 49 cancer nurses using a cancer education need assessment tool. SPSS 16.0 statistical program was used for data analysis.


Based on the needs assessment, the desire for cancer patient education was clearly supported by both cancer patients and cancer nurses. The data showed that the topics were very wide and diverse with categories that include cancer as a disease, ways cancer is treated, side effect management, how therapies are determined, diet management, impact on family, and availability of community resources. Differences between nurses’ and patients’ responses were mostly in the degree of “need or want to learn” but not statistically significant. Patient responses appeared to be influenced by their age, educational level, and type of treatment being received, whereas length of the nurses’ work experience impacted their responses.


A cancer patient education curriculum should be based on a well-designed needs assessment. This study reports the results of a needs assessment from a selected group of cancer patients and oncology nurses in a large Chinese cancer hospital. Information about living with cancer was identified as the need of greatest importance for both patients and oncology nurses.


Cancer Patient education Needs assessment Information needs 



This study was supported in part by the Fulbright program, USA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruishuang Zheng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Judith (Judi) Johnson
    • 2
  • Qi Wang
    • 3
  • Jingmin Hu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Hepatobiliary CancerTianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and HospitalTianjinChina
  2. 2.HealthQuestMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Nursing DepartmentTianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and HospitalTianjinChina

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