Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and prevalent symptoms in pediatric cancer patients and it is important to know if nurses are able to recognize and manage it. The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge and attitudes towards fatigue of nurses working in Italian pediatric onco-hematology centers.
Cross-sectional online survey. An existing questionnaire was adapted to the Italian context, extended with a section on attitudes, and psychometrically tested. The questionnaire was sent to all nurses working in Italian pediatric onco-hematology centers.
Respondents (n = 189), who were working in 37/53 (∼70%) centers, reported 42% of children and 68% of adolescents experiencing fatigue, with intensity increasing with age. Contributing factors were treatments and co-morbidities; frequent symptoms were mood changes and lack of energy. Among respondents who did not assess fatigue, 36.2% did not know an appropriate tool. Nurses recognized fatigue as an important problem and their knowledge and attitudes towards fatigue seemed satisfactory.
This study provides nurses with an instrument to investigate their knowledge and attitudes about fatigue. Nurses’ awareness of the significance of fatigue is a fundamental step towards improving its management and offering strategies that can help both the child and their family.
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