Nurses’ Education to Support School Reentry for Children with Cancer
Rachel Libman, Brad Sherrod, and Donna Weyant
The remarkable history of treatment success in childhood cancer over the past 30 years has led to a dramatic increase in survivorship. Although increasing numbers of children are being presented with the opportunity to resume their post-treatment lives, the process of social reintegration can prove inordinately stressful and anxiety-provoking for these children and their families. Nurses play a significant role in the education of patients and their families at each juncture along the path to recovery; therefore, it is imperative that they are knowledgeable and able to engage in confident, compassionate communication. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to develop and implement an education program designed for pediatric nurses to better address social reintegration and school reentry issues of childhood cancer survivors and their families. Two pre-/postmeasures were used to assess the impact of the educational program: 1) knowledge of relevant issues; and 2) self-efficacy to interact with children, families, teachers, and colleagues. Following the intervention, nurses (N = 33) reported a statistically significant increase in knowledge (p < 0.001) and comfort level (p < 0.001) when speaking with children and families regarding social reintegration and school reentry issues. These findings suggest that developing guidelines for educating pediatric nurses regarding these issues is warranted in view of anticipated further improvements in treatment outcomes of children with cancer.