Gynecologic Cancer Setting Single-item Distress Thermometer Screning

This weeks article discusses screening for distress in patients with gynecologic cancer. O’Connor, Tanner, Miller, Watts, and Musiello (2017) found that 66% of the participants had a distress score of four or greater based on the Distress Thermometer. As such, an interesting and applicable conclusion is the need of using a single-item Distress Thermometer (DT) for initial screening of distress and identifying problems being experienced by women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. The evidence would be applied in the clinical setting by introducing an educational intervention to enhance the knowledge of nurses about the need of screening cancer patients for psychological problems. O’Connor et al. (2017) have found that most patients with cancer have unmet needs because of suboptimal screening of distress in oncology settings. Lack of training and negative perceptions of clinicians have been cited in the article as critical barriers to adoption. Therefore, the educational intervention will not only expand the knowledge of health care providers, but it will also increase adherence rates.

The research evidence will be meaningless unless it is shared with the key stakeholders, specifically nurses because they are the primary custodians of patient care. The first approach will entail creating a brochure and sharing it with nurses and other clinicians in the oncology unit. The brochure will be useful in summarizing the main points from the study considering that busy schedules may not allow clinicians to read the entire article. The brochure will also be used as a complementary document during the implementation of the educational intervention. Second, nursing workshops and seminars will offer crucial avenues for disseminating the findings. Specifically, the workshops and seminars will not only make it easier to reach a wider and diverse audience, they will also allow participants to share their views through robust discussions. Invaluable insights and contributions could emerge from these discussions.

Finally, personal involvement in communicating and applying research evidence is of the essence because it creates a sense of ownership and buy-in. It would be difficult to implement imposed evidence-based practices because of limited understanding of their development and application. Nonetheless, taking part in the communication and application process offers an opportunity of gaining an in-depth understanding of the planning and implementation process. Prior experience and involvement in the process would make it much easier to integrate the best available evidence into clinical decisions.


O’Connor, M., Tanner, P. B., Miller, L., Watts, K. J., & Musiello, T. (2017). Detecting distress: Introducing routine screening in a gynecologic cancer setting. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 21(1), 79-85. doi: 10.1188/17.CJON.79-85