The future of palliative care nursing research in Australia

Authors

  • Lesley Wilkes GrDipEd(Ns), BSc(Hons), MHPEd, PhD,

    1. Professor of Nursing, Clinical Nursing Research Unit, Wentworth Area Health Service/University of Western Sydney Nepean, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Sally Tracy BN, MA, CM RGON,

    1. Research Assistant, Clinical Nursing Research Unit, Wentworth Area Health Service/University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Kate White RN, Onc Cert, PallCare Cert, MNurs

    1. Clinical Research Fellow, Lecturer, Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Correspondence: ProfessorLesleyWilkes Clinical Nursing Research Unit, PO Box 63, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. Fax: +612 472 43182; Email: l.wilkes@nepean.uws.edu.au

Abstract

Nursing research in palliative care is becoming more important as cost effectiveness and evidence-based practice are becoming mandatory. Fifty-nine published and unpublished projects relating to nursing research on palliative care in Australia between 1990 and 1996 were reviewed. Findings indicated that nurses working in palliative care in Australia are interested in researching a range of topics using varied methods. The nurses’ primary interests appear to be their own professional issues and management of the patient’s pain. Little research on families/carers of palliative care patients was evident. There is a need for future research to focus on projects that justify the nurse’s role in the palliative care team, show that nursing interventions for symptom control affect patient outcomes and prove nurses are integral to the psychosocial and spiritual wellbeing of the patient and family during the palliative care journey.

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