Nursing Ethics 16 (5):528-542 (2009)

This article discusses findings from a mixed method literature review that investigated cancer patients’ perceptions of what constitutes a good nurse. To find pertinent articles, we conducted a systematic key word search of five journal databases (1998—2008). The application of carefully constructed inclusion criteria and critical appraisal identified 12 relevant articles. According to the patients, good nurses were shown to be characterized by specific, but inter-related, attitudes, skills and knowledge; they engage in person-to-person relationships, respect the uniqueness of patients, and provide support. Professional and trained skills as well as broad and specific nursing and non-nursing knowledge are important. The analysis revealed that these characteristics nurtured patient well-being, which manifests as optimism, trust, hope, support, confirmation, safety and comfort. Cancer patients’ perceptions of what constitutes a good nurse represent an important source of knowledge that will enable the development of more comprehensive and practice-based views on good nursing care for such patients. These perceptions help us to understand how nurses effectively make a difference in cancer patient care
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DOI 10.1177/0969733009106647
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