The Nursing Process
The nursing process is a tool that puts knowledge into practice. By utilizing this systematic problem-solving method, nurses can determine the health care needs of an individual and provide personalized care.
Write a paper (1,750-2,000 words) on cancer and approach to care based on the utilization of the nursing process. Include the following in your paper:
1. Describe the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
2. Describe at least three complications of cancer, the side effects of treatment, and methods to lessen physical and psychological effects.
3. Discuss what factors contribute to the yearly incidence and mortality rates of various cancers in Americans.
4. Explain how the American Cancer Society (ACS) might provide education and support. What ACS services would you recommend and why?
5. Explain how the nursing process is utilized to provide safe and effective care for cancer patients across the life span. Your explanation should include each of the five phases and demonstrate the delivery of holistic and patient-focused care.
6. Discuss how undergraduate education in liberal arts and science studies contributes to the foundation of nursing knowledge and prepares nurses to work with patients utilizing the nursing process. Consider mathematics, social and physical sciences, and science studies as an interdisciplinary research area.
You are required to cite to a minimum of four sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years and appropriate for the assignment criteria and relevant to nursing practice. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required. This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
The Nursing Process
The nursing process is practical in guiding client-based care through these steps: medical assessment, diagnosis, planning, and implementation (Moghadas & Sedaghati Kesbakhi, 2020). Nurses use this methodical problem-solving procedure to determine the holistic needs and provide individualized and holistic care. Furthermore, the nursing process is essential in the cancer treatment process, as it promotes safety and effectiveness, facilitating better care outcomes. Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and its health, economic and social impact on individuals continues to rise. Therefore, to curb these negative implications of cancer, nurses need to incorporate the nursing process in cancer treatment. This paper discusses the application of nursing process in cancer patients, in regards to cancer diagnosis and treatment and nursing role in the care of cancer patients.
Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer
Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in developed countries and the second leading cause of death in developing countries. Cancer diagnosis heavily depends on invasive tissue biopsy, which involves obtaining tissue specimens. First, the diagnostic procedures are conducted to confirm a cancer diagnosis, following abnormal physical or imaging tests, indicating a possibility of cancer (Schiff et al., 2018). After a definite cancer diagnosis, cancer staging is performed to determine the best course of treatment. For instance, the best treatment for early-stage cancer patients is surgery or radiation. In contrast, advanced cancer stages require treatments that access all body parts, such as chemotherapy, directed drug therapy, and immunotherapy.
Cancer staging is the process of assessing the location and the severity of cancer in an individual’s body. It involves examining the size, the extent of spread, and the location of the cancerous tumor. The process helps the medical practitioners to determine the most appropriate mode of treatment. Most cancers have 4 stages, determined by the tumor, lymph node, and metastatic tumor (TNM). The T classification is based on the size and degree of local onset. The N classification indicates the degree of lymph node inclusion. The M classification is based on the existence or absence of isolated metastasis.
Different types of tests are used to determine the cancer stage. They include physical tests, imaging tests such as x-ray, biopsy, and endoscopic exams. There are two types of cancer staging. The first type is Clinical staging, where cancer is staged based on findings obtained from physical exams, imaging tests, endoscopy exams, and any biopsies and lab tests. This type of staging is used to determine the treatment method. On the other hand, pathological staging entails considering information obtained from a surgical procedure.
Signs, Symptoms, and Complications of Cancer
Signs and symptoms of cancer vary depending on the part of the body that is afflicted. Some of the overall signs and symptoms related with, but not specific to cancer include: Fatigue, lumps felt under the skin, unintended gain and loss of weight, skin changes that involve discoloration and sores on the skin, transition in bowel behavior, respiratory issues, improper digestion, pain in joints and muscles, high fevers and night sweats, increased bleeding and bruising. Complications of cancer can arise from poor management of symptoms or side effects of the cancer medications. The most common cancer complications include pain, breathing complications, rapid spreading or recurrent cancer, diarrhea and constipation, severe weight loss, mental health issues, and compromised body immunity.
Treatment Side Effects
Cancer treatments can have various adverse effects. Side effects differ in individuals, depending on various patient factors, and the type of therapy prescribed. One of the major side effects is a reduction in the number of white blood cells, a condition referred to as Neutropenia; this is the human’s body line of defense against diseases. Neutropenia is a side effect of undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy prevents the rapid development of cells in the body, including cancer and white blood cells. This can make and individual more prone to illness. Another potential side effect is lymphedema. It describes a condition where the lymph fluid is not accurately draining if the lymph nodes which happens when radiation therapy destroys a lipoma or vessel. Fluid ends up accumulating beneath the epidermis, causing swelling in one or various parts of your body (Schirrmacher, 2019).
Hair loss is another side effect caused by chemotherapy; this condition is known as alopecia. In addition, cancer treatments can cause nausea, vomiting, patient constipation, fatigue, and depressive disorder. Cancer medication may also cause mental issues such as reduced concentration and memory loss. In addition, cancer itself and its treatments can cause pain, making it difficult for cancer patients to perform daily activities and lowering the standard of life (Schirrmacher, 2019).
Various techniques can reduce the physical and psychological effects of cancer treatment. Research indicates that alternative medicine such as acupuncture, mindfulness placed stress reduction, massage, and yoga may assist manage cancer complications and side effects of treatment, such as pain, nausea, and fatigue. Existing data indicate that acupuncture helps in reducing cancer pain, managing nausea and vomiting caused by treatment, and alleviating cancer-related fatigue. Hypnosis may assist reduce the pain caused by cancer itself and its procedures used in care. Hypnosis is also helpful in managing psychological side effects such as anxiety and distress from surgical and medical procedures.
Factors that Contribute to the Annual Cancer Incidence in America
Much of the burden of cancer in America can be attributed to unhealthy behaviors and life choices. The five major factors contributing to annual cancer occurrence and mortalities among Americans are tobacco abuse, physical dormancy, obesity, poor dietary habits, and alcohol abuse. However, other lifestyle elements like sun exposure also contribute significantly to cancer.
Tobacco use is a misfortune to public health. It causes approximately 440,000 untimely deaths and other effects in the United States alone, making it accountable for 30 percent of cancer deaths yearly (Zahnd et al 2018). The numbers of deaths and other effects are even greater globally. According to information from WHO, 4 million deaths related to tobacco use were indicated in 1998, and this figure was expected to double by 2020 Zahnd et al., 2018). Physical activity is essential for mental and physical health advantages, including decreased risk of untimely deaths, cancer, diabetes, and depression. International Agency for cancer research has indicated that 11 to 15 percent of breast cancer cases are linked to insufficient physical activity (Lauby-Secretan et al., 2018).
Excessive body fats can result in medical conditions ranging from cardiovascular illnesses to cancers. Obesity causes various cancers, including breast cancer, uterine cancer, and colon cancer (Smith et al., 2019. Alcohol use is linked to cigarette use and other high-risk behaviors that may cause cancers. The IARC concludes that alcohol is a Group cancer and an unconventional risk factor for cancer in the liver.
American Cancer Society (ACS) on Education and Patient Involvement, and the Recommended ACS Contributions
The ACS works closely with the American society to provide education and support by creating awareness and assisting cancer patients in understanding and coping with their diagnosis. The ACS offers programs to aid more than 1.4 million cancer patients reported annually in America, including 14 million cancer survivors, family, and friends. The ACS provides day-to-day assistance, acts as an emotional cornerstone, and most importantly, its services are free. The ACS also grant a list that indicates ways to cope with cancer, and these coping skills include: Learning about one’s cancer specifics and its treatment, which can all be used to alleviate complications and control the spread of cancer if a cure is not working (Smith et al., 2019).
ACS provides education and supports by publishing many books, professional journals, brochures, and pamphlets on their websites and as hard copies in various outlets. Some of the ACS services that I would recommend to cancer patients include support groups for psychological side effects of cancer and its treatment, health education, financial programs, and social services. ACS provides free services, and their health data is evidence-based.
Application of the Nursing Process in Cancer Care
The nursing process is the typical chain linking various kinds of nurses who practice in different instances. The crucial fundamentals of operation for the registered nurse are to provide comprehensive patient-based support. The nursing process entails 5 phases: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. The process represents an indispensable tool in enforcing safe and effective care, particularly in cancer patients.
The role of a nurse during the assessment of a cancer patient entails a holistic approach that focuses on not only the clinical presentations but also other patients and family needs. The role involves assessing a patient’s physical and emotional status, past health history, health practices, and the patient’s and the family’s knowledge of the disease and its treatment. It also includes the patient’s physiological, social and cultural, spiritual, and economic lifestyle elements. Nursing diagnosis is defined as the nurse’s clinical perception of a patient’s feedback from verified health treatment and needs. The physician establishes the clinical diagnosis of cancer. Nursing diagnosis entails assessing complications and patient needs using the Maslow hierarchy of needs. It also entails assessing patient progress and feedback after the treatment plan has been delivered.
The role includes addressing patient pain, anxiety, inadequate nutrition, and respiratory complications. The planning role in the care of cancer patients entails designing short and long-term treatment goals for the patients. To promote safety, the goal designing must prioritize patient movement pain management, integrity, and sufficient nutrition. Nursing care is executed based on the healthcare plan in the implementation phase. It entails delivering nursing interventions to facilitate attaining the goals set in the planning phase (Mayer, Nasso, & Earp, 2017).
The implementation role while caring for cancer patients may include delivering pain medication, providing oxygen therapy, encouraging the patient to adhere to the prescribed treatment plan, and educating the patient on the available safe alternative treatment therapies. The evaluation role of the nurse in caring for cancer patients entails assessing for the attainment of treatment goals. The nurse may also evaluate for side effects of the treatment and occurrence of side effects. This will facilitate early detection of the negative implications of the treatment.
Significance of Liberal Arts and Scientific Studies to Nursing
Liberal arts and science works are a central point of the educational discipline in nursing studies. These disciplines are critical in nursing roles. They equip nurses with critical thinking skills, innovativeness and help nurses understand the world view of various healthcare stakeholders on various nursing issues. These competencies help nurses adequately address challenging issues in cancer care and provide patient-centered and holistic care. Liberal arts and scientific studies contribute to nursing knowledge and equip nurses with communication and problem-solving skills. Nurses also apply their expertise in interdisciplinary research studies, helping discover more effective and improved treatment approaches.
For instance, one of the most significant illustrations of the clinical impact of multidisciplinary research studies on cancer is presented by the Moffitt Cancer Centre’s program on cancer biology financed by NCI, which involves specific concentration on the issue of treatment resistance (Keib et al., 2017). Another of the most significant areas of study in physics presents opportunities for clinical adaptation. For example, Ben Varcoe’s error correction technique developed from quantum optics has been considered in application with cardiologists and medical physicians. Therefore, interdisciplinary studies play a significant role in the nursing care of cancer patients.
Keib, C. N., Cailor, S. M., Kiersma, M. E., & Chen, A. M. (2017). Changes in nursing students’ perceptions of research and evidence-based practice after completing a research course. Nurse Education Today, 54, 37-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2017.04.007
Lauby-Secretan, B., Vilahur, N., Bianchini, F., Guha, N., & Straif, K. (2018). The IARC perspective on colorectal cancer screening. New England Journal of Medicine, 378(18), 1734-1740. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr1714643
Mayer, D. K., Nasso, S. F., & Earp, J. A. (2017). Defining cancer survivors, their needs, and perspectives on survivorship health care in the USA. The Lancet Oncology, 18(1), e11-e18. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30573-3
Moghadas, T., & Sedaghati Kesbakhi, M. (2020). Factors Influencing Implementation of Nursing Process by Nursing Students: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Medical Education, 19(4). https://dx.doi.org/10.5812/jme.110810
Schirrmacher, V. (2019). From chemotherapy to biological therapy: A review of novel concepts to reduce the side effects of systemic cancer treatment. International journal of oncology, 54(2), 407-419. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2018.4661
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Smith, R. A., Andrews, K. S., Brooks, D., Fedewa, S. A., Manassaram‐Baptiste, D., Saslow, D., & Wender, R. C. (2019). Cancer screening in the United States, 2019: a review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians, 69(3), 184-210. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21557
Zahnd, W. E., James, A. S., Jenkins, W. D., Izadi, S. R., Fogleman, A. J., Steward, D. E., … & Brard, L. (2018). Rural–urban differences in cancer incidence and trends in the United States. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 27(11), 1265-1274. https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/27/11/1265.