Exploring and encouraging through social interaction: a qualitative study of nurses' participation in self-help groups for cancer patients

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Self-help groups are a growing phenomenon across national borders. Current sociologic empirical evidence shows that nurses and other healthcare professionals have become an integral part of self-help groups. The aim of the study is to describe and highlight the experiences of patients with cancer (n = 21) and oncology nurses (n = 12) with self-help groups. These experiences are drawn on to illustrate the characteristics of professional involvement in self-help groups for patients with cancer. Data were obtained by individual qualitative interviews. The results show that the nurse functions as a social networker and uses her contextual competence by consciously encouraging relationships between fellow patients. Furthermore, the study illustrates that the nurse's involvement with self-help groups for patients with cancer serves as a complementary dimension to the traditional nursing discourse. It is concluded that when individualized care is supported through social practice and when personal issues are exchanged and negotiated, the nurse facilitates a milieu of togetherness in self-help groups for patients with cancer. The concept of self-help groups is a valuable contribution to new theories and service development in psychosocial care and complies with the understanding of the postmodern individual, who viewed as primarily responsible for negotiating, socializing, and making his or her own decisions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

    Research areas

  • Adult, Aged, Attitude of Health Personnel, Attitude to Health, Community Networks, Denmark, Female, Hospitals, University, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Nurse's Role, Nurse-Patient Relations, Nursing Evaluation Research, Nursing Methodology Research, Nursing Staff, Hospital, Oncology Nursing, Prospective Studies, Qualitative Research, Self-Help Groups, Social Support, Surveys and Questionnaires, Evaluation Studies, Journal Article

ID: 179127874