American Journal of Nursing Research
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American Journal of Nursing Research. 2015, 3(1), 4-7
DOI: 10.12691/ajnr-3-1-2
Open AccessOpinion Paper

Decrease the Length of Hospital Stay in Depressed Cancer Patients: Nurses Should be Involved

Ahmad Rayan1, and Abeer Dadoul2

1Faculty of Nursing, Zarqa University, Zarqa, Jordan

2Faculty of Nursing, Hebron University, Hebron, Palestine

Pub. Date: February 10, 2015

Cite this paper:
Ahmad Rayan and Abeer Dadoul. Decrease the Length of Hospital Stay in Depressed Cancer Patients: Nurses Should be Involved. American Journal of Nursing Research. 2015; 3(1):4-7. doi: 10.12691/ajnr-3-1-2


Cancer is one of the most life threatening illnesses worldwide, which can be associated with severe depression in patients. Depression can negatively affect the prognosis of cancer and increase hospital stays. Nurses are directly involved in providing care for cancer patients over the entire course of cancer prognoses. However, the nurse role in assessment and management of depression in cancer patients is not well-defined. The purpose of this article is to identify the nursing role in assessment and management of depression in cancer patients, and to provide recommendations for future research regarding assessment and management of depression in cancer patients. Literature review of relevant articles was conducted using the PubMed and CINAHL electronic databases. Articles that were not published in English, and articles that were published since more than 10 years were excluded from review. Other articles were not included because of redundant data. Nurses should anticipate depression and be aware of its risk factors. They should accurately assess patients’ concerns and immediately report any suicide risk to the supervising psychiatrist. To better assess depression in cancer patients, nurses should use specific and valid screening tools. Nurses can participate in different management modalities for depressed cancer patients. In case of severe depression, antidepressants are the drugs of choice. When depression is mild, many psychotherapeutic and psychosocial interventions can be effective. The article provides a discussion about some important roles for nurses in these interventions. Other innovative methods that nurses can use to meet the psychosocial health needs of cancer patients are provided. Recommendations for future research include using a control group in future studies, conducting more prospective studies, focusing on nonpharmacologic interventions, and conducting qualitative studies about experiences of specific cancer patients. These studies can provide valuable data to improve nursing care for depressed cancer patients, and ultimately decrease the length of their hospital stay.

cancer depression nurse assessment management

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