'Feeling someone is there for you' – experiences of women with vulvar neoplasia with care delivered by an Advanced Practice Nurse
Aims and objectives To explore the experiences of women with vulvar neoplasia with care delivered by an Advanced Practice Nurse. Background Women with vulvar neoplasia suffer from a high number of symptoms and report a lack of information and support by health care professionals. Further, talking about their disease, which is still a social taboo, is difficult for them. From approaches for other patients, it can be suggested that support from an Advanced Practice Nurse can be helpful. For Advanced Practice Nurse development, implementation and evaluation, it is important to assess patients’ perceptions. But so far, little is known about how patients with vulvar neoplasia experience support of an Advanced Practice Nurse. Design A qualitative interview study was chosen to gain understanding of the experience of women with vulvar neoplasia who received care delivered by an Advanced Practice Nurse. Methods Narrative interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 13 women with vulvar neoplasia after they received care from an Advanced Practice Nurse for six months. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data from the interviews. Results Four main themes could be identified: a trusting relationship; accessibility; feeling safe and secure; and feeling someone is there for you. Women felt more secure and less alone in the experience of their illness through having the possibility of contacting an Advanced Practice Nurse and getting sufficient information and psychosocial support. Conclusions Women with vulvar neoplasia experienced care delivered by an Advanced Practice Nurse as ‘feeling someone is there for you’. Due to the localisation of the disease and the associated social taboo, psychosocial support from the Advanced Practice Nurse beyond months after surgery was very important for them. Relevance to clinical practice Addressing psychosocial needs in caring for women with vulvar neoplasia must be given greater attention in clinical practice. Further, continuous nursing support delivered by an Advanced Practice Nurse beyond the acute treatment phase can be recommended.
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