Role and skills of the oncology nurse: An observational study

Laura Iacorossi, F. Gambalunga, M. Di Muzio, I. Terrenato, S. El Sayed, F. Ricci, L. A. Pulimeno, I. Notarnicola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. The importance of nursing competence arises from its central role in influencing and determining care outcomes. The employment of adequately educated staff, able to base clinical decisions on the best scientific evidence, is one of the components required for delivering high quality nursing care in the oncological field. The aim of this study is to analyze - through the Nurse Competence Scale - the level of competence of nurses working in oncological settings. Method. A descriptive study was performed between March and September 2017. The participants were recruited among the nursing staff working in the Day Hospital and the Units of the IRCCS -Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome. The confidentiality and the anonymity of the subjects involved in the study were guaranteed by submitting a socio-cultural data sheet -specifically designed to collect demographic and education data - and the Nurse Competence Scale. Results. The sample included 65 nurses (93%) and 5 head nurses (7%), with a mean age of 41.8 years, predominantly female (80%), who had been working in oncology units for a mean of 17.2 years. The Nurse Competence Scale showed a high level of competence in all dimensions. Moreover, the Chi-Square test allowed to identify the presence of significant associations between the different dimensions of the Nurse Competence Scale and the work experience > 15 years and the age > 40 years. Conclusions. The results of our study show that, even if lacking specific oncology competence, nurses working in oncology care settings have developed a good level of clinical competences. Highlighting the importance of nursing care in the oncology area will increase the demand of both patients and organizations of high quality nursing care, consequently enhancing the nursing profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalAnnali di Igiene
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Competence
  • Descriptive study
  • Nurse Competence Scale
  • Nursing
  • Oncology nurse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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