Nurse Practitioners' attitudes about cancer clinical trials and willingness to recommend research participation

School of Nursing, and Center for Bioethics and NewCourtlandCenter for Transitions and Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, United States.
Contemporary clinical trials (Impact Factor: 1.94). 01/2012; 33(1):76-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.cct.2011.09.005
Source: PubMed


Recruitment and retention of human participants in cancer clinical trials remains challenging for all investigators. Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are in a prime position to discuss, educate and refer patients to clinical trials as many NPs work in ethnically and geographically diverse primary care settings in the U.S., yet they remain an untapped resource. We examined NPs' general attitudes toward cancer clinical trial recommendations and assessed their willingness to recommend such trials
We randomly surveyed 455 primary care NPs in the state of Pennsylvania during 2008 with an adjusted response rate of 55.3%. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize NPs' demographic and practice characteristics, and logistic regression was used to assess the relative influence of the various attitudes and beliefs on the likelihood that the NP would bring up clinical trials as a treatment option.
NPs were more likely to bring up the topic of clinical trials with at least some patients if they were comfortable discussing treatment options with their cancer patients (OR=4.29, p=0.001), were comfortable discussing options of entering a clinical trial for treatment (OR=3.54, p=0.003), had adequate time during patients' visit to explain clinical trials (OR=3.40, p=0.008), and if they believed that patients in clinical trials were receiving the best medical treatment (OR=3.34, p=0.019). NPs who were comfortable discussing cancer clinical trials were almost 5 times more likely to think clinical trials were useful (OR=4.70; 95% CI=1.81-12.19; p=0.001). Nearly three-quarters (72.6%) of the entire responder sample reported three or more ethical concerns associated with clinical trials, including issues of randomization, informed consent, and patient burden.
NPs are willing to recommend clinical trials but need more education about the benefits and burdens of clinical trials, the associated ethical concerns, and evidence regarding the translatability of research to clinical practice to increase their knowledge and comfort level with discussing clinical trials.

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