Oncology nurses’ perceptions of obstacles and role at the end-of-life care: cross sectional survey


oncology nurses, end-of-life care, obstacles to end-of-life care, nurse role, supporter, advocate, information broker


Background: Major obstacles exist in the care of patients at the end of life: lack of time, poor or inadequate communication, and lack of knowledge in providing care. Three possible nursing roles in care decision-making were investigated: Information Broker, Supporter, and Advocate. The purpose of this study was to examine obstacles faced by oncology nurses in providing end-of-life (EOL) care and to examine roles of nurses in providing care.

Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional, correlational design was applied. The study was conducted at two major University Hospitals of Oncology in Lithuania that have a combined total of 2365 beds. The study sample consisted of 239 oncology registered nurses. Data collection tool included a questionnaire about assessment of obstacles and supportive behaviors, nursing roles, and socio-demographic characteristics.

Results: The two items perceived by respondents as the most intense obstacles to providing EOL care were The nurse’s opinion on immediate patient care is not welcome, valued or discussed and.

Family has no access to psychological help after being informed about the patient’s diagnosis. The majority of respondents self-assigned the role of Supporter.

Conclusions: Major obstacles in providing care included the nurse’s opinion that immediate patient care was not valued, lack of nursing knowledge on how to treat the patient’s grieving family, and physicians who avoided conversations with the patient and family members about diagnoses and prospects. In EOL care nurses most frequently acted as Supporters and less frequently as Advocates.

Original Publication Citation

Blaževičienė, A., Newland, J. A., Čivinskienė, V., & Beckstrand, R. L. (2017). Oncology nurses’ perceptions of obstacles and role at the end-of-life care: cross sectional survey. BMC Palliative Care, 16:74.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



BMC Palliative Care





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor