Paul D'Amico

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2007


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Gladys L. Husted

Committee Member

Anne Bavier

Committee Member

Heidi Ehrenberger

Committee Member

Joan Such Lockhart


clinical trials nursing, research nurse, theory of reasoned action


Clinical trials in oncology that evaluate new cancer treatments are essential. However, in the United States only 2%-4% of eligible adult cancer patients participate in the National Cancer Institute's clinical trials annually. Oncology nurses have a major role in the care of patients contemplating enrollment into cancer clinical trials, yet little is known about their attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions.

The Modified Nursing Attitude Survey and a demographic form were used to collect data. This study discovered significant predictors to attitudes and perceptions; however, all R² (coefficient of determination) values were very low, which indicates that some other unknown variables could be better predictors than those used in this study. On average, oncology nurses reported positive attitudes towards cancer clinical trials. However, statistically significant differences were found between nurses grouped by primary work setting and primary position. Additionally, as a whole, these nurses perceived that patients have enough information to make decisions regarding clinical trial participation, but they somewhat disagreed that: clinical research should be conducted only in cancer centers, oncologists and nurses put too much pressure on patients to participate, and patients are often unaware that their treatment is part of a research protocol. Significant differences in these perceptions were found between: primary work setting, number of years in cancer nursing, and whether or not the nurse works with these patients. Consistent with prior research, oncology nurses perceive that experimental cancer treatments should have a large benefit before being offered. Moreover, there were statistically significant differences in this perceived benefit among the nurses grouped by number of years in cancer nursing, primary work setting, and education level. More research is needed to explore the reasons for these differences in attitudes and perceptions.

This study explored nurses' attitudes and perceptions regarding cancer clinical trials. Since their attitudes may ultimately dictate their behaviors towards clinical trials, this study has far reaching implications for nursing education, nursing practice, and the conduct of clinical trials. By investigating oncology nurses' attitudes and perceptions toward cancel clinical trials this study begins to assess the behavior of oncology nurses towards cancer patients.