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End of life in pediatric oncology: how clinical practice leads to research

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Pritchard, M.; Davies, B.

In pediatric oncology nursing, and across practice disciplines in general, clinical research serves as the cornerstone for improving patient care. Historically, advances made in the care and cure of childhood cancer have stemmed directly from clinical research. The developments of new research questions are varied in their origin–some questions are based on previous work that leads logically to the next question, some are based on a clinical problem that requires more immediate attention, and then there are those that arise from an individual clinical experience. This last category provides clinicians with a poignant reason to search for answers on how to provide the most optimal care for all future patients. As the number of advanced practice nurses in pediatric oncology increases, there is the likelihood of an increased pursuit of clinical research. This article describes how one clinician’s experience with dying children resulted in the pursuit of answers to clinical research questions. By reflecting on clinical practice and incorporating our practice in the development of research questions, we can improve the quality of care provided to all children with cancer.

Research abstracts