- Volume 2 Issue 1
This paper constitutes a descriptive investigation and used a structured questionnaire to investigate nurses' and doctors' recognition of cancer patients. The subjects were extracted from the medical personnel working at the internal medicine, the surgery ward, the obstetrics and gynecology department, the pediatrics department, the cancer ward, and the emergency room of five general hospitals located in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province. The research lasted from August, 2001 to September 2001. Total 137 nurses and 65 doctors were included and made out the questionnaires directly distributed by the investigator. The study tool was also developed by the investigator and consisted of such items as the demographic and social characteristics, the medical personnel's recognition degree of cancer and cancer patients, their recognition of the management of cancer patients, and their participation in a hospice. The results were analyzed using the SPSS Window program in terms of technological statistics, ranks, t-test, and ANOVA. The reliability was represented in Cronbach' α=.75. The nurses' and doctors' recognition degree of cancer and cancer patients had an overall average of 3.86 at the 5 point-scale. The items that received an average of 4.0 or more included 'Medical personnel should explain about the cancer cure plans to the cancer patient and his or her family', 'A patient whose case has been diagnosed as a terminal cancer should be notified of it, 'If I were a cancer patient, I would want to get informed of it,' and 'Cancer shall be conquered whenever it is'. In the meantime, the items that received an average of 3.0 or less was 'My relationship with the cancer patient's family has gotten worse since I announced his or her impending death.' And according to the general characteristics and the difference test, the recognition degree of cancer and cancer patient was high among the subgroups of nurses, females, married persons, who were in their 30s, who had a family member that was a cancer patient, and who received a hospice education. The biggest number of the nurses and doctors saw 'a gradual approach over several days'(68.8%) as a method to tell a cancer patient about his or her cancer diagnosis or impending death. Those who usually tell tragic news were the physician in charge(62.8%), the family members or relatives(32.1%) and the clergymen(3.8%) in the order. The greatest number of them recommended a cancer patient's home as the place where he or she should face death because they thought 'it would stabilize his or her mentality'(91.9%) while a number of them recommended the hospital because they 'should give the psychological satisfaction to the patient'(40%) or 'should try their best until the last moment of the patient's death'(30%). A majority of the medical personnel regarded 'smoking or drinking' and 'diet' as the causes of cancer. The biggest symptom of a cancer patient was 'pain' and the pain management of a cancer patient was mostly impeded by the 'excessive fear of drug addiction, tolerance to drugs and side effects of drugs' by medical personnel, the patient, and his or her family. The most frequently adopted treatment plan of a terminal cancer patient was 'to do whatever the patient or his or her family wants' to resort to a hospice' and 'to continue active treatment efforts' in the order. The biggest reasons why a terminal cancer patient went to see a doctor were 'pain alleviation' 'control of symptoms other than pain(intravenous supply)' and 'incapability of the patient's family' in the order. Terminal cancer patients placed their major concern in 'spiritual(religious) matter' 'emotional matters' their family' 'existence' and 'physical matters' in the order. 113(58.5%) of the whole medical personnel answered they 'would recommend' an alternative treatment to a terminal cancer patient mostly because they assumed it would 'stabilize the patient's mentality.' Meanwhile, 80(41.5%) of them chose 'not to recommend it mostly due to the unverified effects and high cost of it(78.7%). A majority of them, I. e. 190(94.1%) subjects said they 'would recommend' a hospice to a terminal cancer patient mostly because they thought it would help the patient to 'mentally prepare'(66.6%) Only 17.3% of them, however, had received a hospice education, most of which was done through the hospital duty education(41.4%) and volunteer training(34.5%). The follows are results of this study: 1. The nurses and the doctors turned out to be still passive and experience confusion in dealing with a cancer patient despite their great sense of responsibility for him or her. 2.Nurses and Doctors realize the need of a hospice, but an extremely small number of them participate in a hospice education or performance. Thus, a whole recognition of a hospice should be changed, for which purpose a hospice education for nurses and doctors should be provided. 3.Terminal cancer patients preferred their home to a hospital as the place to face their impending death because they felt it would bring 'mental stability.' And most of nurses and doctors think it would be unnecessary for them to be hospitalized just for control of their symptoms. Accordingly a terminal cancer patient can be cared at home, and a home hospice care needs to be activated.