What is the Role of the Oncology Nurse in Fertility Preservation Counseling and Education for Young Patients?
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Oncology nurses are uniquely positioned to offer fertility preservation counseling and education for cancer patients of reproductive age, yet there is a dearth of research that focuses on current practice and perceptions of nursing role. In 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology extended the duties of fertility preservation counseling among patients of reproductive age undergoing cancer treatment to include registered nurses and other allied health professionals as active partners in the counseling and education process. This study used a cross-sectional descriptive survey to assess current practices, role perceptions, and barriers to fertility preservation counseling among registered nurses working in an academic care setting with outpatient and inpatient services. There were significant gaps in current practices and perceptions of roles regarding fertility preservation counseling. Many nurses expressed the perception that fertility preservation counseling was important, but it was outside the scope of their practice to perform this education. This preliminary work defined need for an interdisciplinary fertility preservation team, communication surrounding educational practice norms, and designated oncofertility navigator.
KeywordsOncofertility Young adult oncology Fertility preservation Fertility counseling Fertility education
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