Exploring hematology/oncology nurses’ recognition of patients at risk of sepsis

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This descriptive exploratory study, guided by Carper’s (1978) patterns of knowing, explored hematology/oncology nurses’ recognition of patients at risk of sepsis. Semi-structured open-ended interview questions (with additional prompts as necessary) were used during individual face-to-face interviews of 14 clinical nurses to understand their experience when caring for hematologic/oncologic patients at risk of sepsis and how they differentiate between sepsis and other treatment-related complications such as those related to chemotherapy. Interviews were digitally recorded and subsequently were carefully analyzed using Colaizzi’s (1978) method of analysis. The primary finding of this analysis was the overarching theme of Act Quickly and Decisively. This study, regarding the recognition and differentiation of sepsis, may enhance understanding of the experiences and tools used by clinical nurses in hematologic/oncologic settings. Recommendations for further research include the development of an evidence-based educational training module focused on early assessment and intervention, including differentiation alert tools. Improved understanding resulting from the development of such a training module would subsequently improve patient outcomes.

Hematology/oncology nurses, Recognition, Sepsis, Patients