Oncology nursing role in cancer-related PTSD—Part II

Melissa B. Korman, Yasmine Hejri-Rad, Lauren Goldberg, Alyssa Leano, Janet Ellis


Cancer-related posttraumatic stress disorder (CR-PTSD) is relatively newly defined, lacks clinician awareness and, therefore, often goes undiagnosed. Untreated CR-PTSD can be debilitating; negatively impacting all aspects of a patient’s life throughout diagnosis, treatment, and into survivorship. Oncology nurses’ frontline role, which includes caring for both patients’ physical and psychosocial needs, and commonly forming a trusting relationship with patients, makes them ideal candidates for providing emotional support and assessing patients for risk or symptoms of CR-PTSD. In addition to a brief summary on the current nursing role in assessing and treating mental health disorders such as CR-PTSD, this article provides recommendations for how nurses can identify vulnerable patients, assess these patients for CR-PTSD and provide psychosocial support to those in need, as well as how hospitals can better equip oncology nurses to do so through training, education and supportive resources.

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