Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 2357–2364 | Cite as

Aiding a reassertion of self: a qualitative study of the views and experiences of women with ovarian cancer receiving long-term nurse-led telephone follow-up

  • Anna CoxEmail author
  • Sara FaithfullEmail author
Original Article



This study explored the views and experiences of women following treatment for ovarian cancer who had received long-term (at least 3 years) nurse-led telephone follow-up. Exploring the long-term experiences of follow-up for women with ovarian cancer provides important information regarding the coping processes of cancer survivors that can inform the development of innovative and patient-centred approaches of cancer follow-up.


This is a qualitative study approach using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Eleven women were identified by a clinical nurse specialist as having received nurse-led telephone follow-up for a period of at least 3 years. These women were interviewed in person or over the telephone using a semi-structured interview schedule; interviews were audio-recorded and transcriptions were analysed using IPA.


Nurse-led telephone follow-up was felt to support a reassertion of self and a rejection of patient identity. Three core themes emerged regarding the positive impact of nurse-led telephone follow-up: ‘Somebody was looking out for me’ highlights the perception of increased psychosocial support; ‘It’s just reassurance’ includes both the deep trust in the expertise of the nurse and the reassurance of the continued blood tests; and ‘Time was never an issue’ presents the perception of relaxed follow-up appointments with time to talk and the perceived practical benefits of this approach.


Nurse-led telephone follow-up was broadly recommended for women following treatment for ovarian cancer, particularly for those later on in the survivorship trajectory when focus may move from biomedical aspects of cure to holistic approaches to well-being. Remote interventions which provide a perception of a consistent and constant source of medical and psychosocial support may support adaption to cancer survivorship by enabling a reassertion of self and a rejection of patient identity.


Nurse-led telephone follow-up Ovarian cancer Adaption Survivorship 



We wish to acknowledge the key contribution of the Clinical Nurse Specialist who assisted us with recruitment and thank all of the women who participated in this study. This study was funded by a pump priming grant at the University of Surrey.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this paper have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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