Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Sharon E. Lock

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Renato V. LaRocca

Committee Member

Dr. Judi Daniels



A new diagnosis of cancer will often cause an individual to feel overwhelmed, confused and anxious (Kessels, 2003). Many patients often experience anxiety not only related to their cancer diagnosis but also in regards to the plausible side effects of chemotherapy (Greene, Nail, Fieler, Dudgeon, & Jones, 1994; Williams & Schreier, 2004). The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the association between timing of education provided to newly diagnosed patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and number of self-manageable triage calls to the oncologist’s office


A retrospective study design was conducted on newly diagnosed breast cancer patients from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016, undergoing chemotherapy in two NCI clinics. The inclusion criteria consisted of medical records of males and females 18 years of age and older with a new breast cancer diagnosis, completed at least two cycles of chemotherapy, English as the primary language spoken and written, received standard of care only (no research trial) and received education at the initial visit or within 2 weeks of the initial physician visit. A total of 59 records were included in the study. Thirty patients were educated on the same day (Group A) as their initial visits with the oncologist and 29 were educated within two weeks of their initial visit (Group B).


The first objective determined if the nature of the call for Group A involved symptom management in the form of diarrhea < 24 hours, fever < 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or nausea/vomiting < 24 hours, within the first two cycles of chemotherapy. The number of triage calls that met the criteria was 30% for Group A and 21% for Group B.

The second objective compared the number of triage phone calls for Group A and Group B to determine if there was a variation contributable to timing of education. A chi-square test showed that there was no statistical significance between the two groups.


In conclusion, the results of this study did not show a substantial difference in the outcome based on when the patients and caregivers were educated. Additional research needs to be done to focus on other types of cancer and other factors that could influence patient self-management of common side effects of chemotherapy