Publications by authors named "Jennifer Wiernikowski"

15 Publications

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Leading wherever and whenever: Ensuring oncology nurses are future ready.

Can Oncol Nurs J 2018 1;28(1):58-62. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

Leadership is demonstrated by oncology nurses every day. Some work in formal nursing leadership roles while others demonstrate informal leadership skills, as part of an interdisciplinary clinical team. As we work to provide exemplary care to cancer patients in an increasingly complex and resource-restricted system, the need for everyone to embrace nursing leadership practices is increasingly important. Formal oncology nursing leaders work to implement changes to enhance and improve the system while informal oncology nursing leaders must participate in that process to ensure their expertise and experience can inform the plan. Through personal stories and reflection, and using a leadership framework, this paper will explore how and why to take the opportunity to lead wherever your oncology nursing work takes you.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6516209PMC
February 2018

Evaluation of a specialized oncology nursing supportive care intervention in newly diagnosed breast and colorectal cancer patients following surgery: a cluster randomized trial.

Support Care Cancer 2018 May 30;26(5):1533-1541. Epub 2017 Nov 30.

Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Background: Better coordination of supportive services during the early phases of cancer care has been proposed to improve the care experience of patients. We conducted a randomized trial to test a community-based nurse-led coordination of care intervention in cancer patients.

Methods: Surgical practices were cluster randomized to a control group involving usual care practices or a standardized nursing intervention consisting of an in-person supportive care assessment with ongoing support to meet identified needs, including linkage to community services. Newly diagnosed breast and colorectal cancer patients within 7 days of cancer surgery were eligible. The primary outcome was the patient-reported outcome (PRO) of continuity of care (CCCQ) measured at 3 weeks. Secondary outcomes included unmet supportive care needs (SCNS), quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30), health resource utilization, and level of uncertainty with care trajectory (MUIS) at 3 and/or 8 weeks.

Results: A total of 121 breast and 72 colorectal patients were randomized through 28 surgical practices. There was a small improvement in the informational domain of continuity of care (difference 0.29 p = 0.05) and a trend to less emergency room use (15.8 vs 7.1%) (p = 0.07). There were no significant differences between groups on unmet need, quality of life, or uncertainty.

Conclusion: We did not find substantial gaps in the PROs measured immediately following surgery for breast and colorectal cancer patients. The results of this study support a more targeted approach based on need and inform future research focused on improving navigation during the initial phases of cancer treatment. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00182234. SONICS-Effectiveness of Specialist Oncology Nursing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3981-4DOI Listing
May 2018

Randomized trial of decongestive lymphatic therapy for the treatment of lymphedema in women with breast cancer.

J Clin Oncol 2013 Oct 16;31(30):3758-63. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Ian S. Dayes, Tim J. Whelan, Jim A. Julian, Sameer Parpia, and Mark N. Levine, McMaster University; Tim J. Whelan, Jim A. Julian, Sameer Parpia, Kathleen I. Pritchard, and Mark N. Levine, Ontario Clinical Oncology Group; Ian S. Dayes, Tim J. Whelan, and Mark N. Levine, Juravinski Cancer Centre; Donna Reise, Talspar Nursing Services; Jennifer Wiernikowski, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton; Kathleen I. Pritchard and Lee Manchul, University of Toronto; Kathleen I. Pritchard, Odette Sunnybrook Cancer Centre; Lee Manchul, University Health Network, Toronto; David Paul D'Souza and Lyn Kligman, London Regional Cancer Program, London; David Paul D'Souza, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario; Linda LeBlanc, Dr Leon Richard Oncology Centre, Moncton, New Brunswick; Margaret L. McNeely, University of Alberta; and Margaret L. McNeely, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Purpose: Because of its morbidity and chronicity, arm lymphedema remains a concerning complication of breast cancer treatment. Although massage-based decongestive therapy is often recommended, randomized trials have not consistently demonstrated benefit over more conservative measures.

Patients And Methods: Women previously treated for breast cancer with lymphedema were enrolled from six institutions. Volumes were calculated from circumference measurements. Patients with a minimum of 10% volume difference between their arms were randomly assigned to either compression garments (control) or daily manual lymphatic drainage and bandaging followed by compression garments (experimental). The primary outcome was percent reduction in excess arm volume from baseline to 6 weeks.

Results: A total of 103 women were randomly assigned, and 95 were evaluable. Mean reduction of excess arm volume was 29.0% in the experimental group and 22.6% in the control group (difference, 6.4%; 95% CI, -6.8% to 20.5%; P = .34). Absolute volume loss was 250 mL and 143 mL in the experimental and control groups, respectively (difference, 107 mL; 95% CI, 13 to 203 mL; P = .03). There was no difference between groups in the proportion of patients losing 50% or greater excess arm volume. Quality of life (Short Form-36 Health Survey) and arm function were not different between groups.

Conclusion: This trial was unable to demonstrate a significant improvement in lymphedema with decongestive therapy compared with a more conservative approach. The failure to detect a difference may have been a result of the relatively small size of our trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2012.45.7192DOI Listing
October 2013

Disparities in cancer care: perspectives from the front line.

Palliat Support Care 2014 Jun 10;12(3):175-81. Epub 2013 May 10.

Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto,Ontario,Canada.

Objective: The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how frontline healthcare professionals witness and understand disparity in cancer care.

Method: Six healthcare providers from a range of care settings, none with < 15 years of frontline experience, engaged with researchers in an iterative process of identifying and reflecting on equity and disparity in cancer care. This knowledge exchange began with formal interviews. Thematic analysis of the interviews form the basis of this article.

Results: Participants drew attention to health systems issues, the meaning and experience of discontinuities in care for patients at personal and community levels, and the significance of social supports. Other concerns raised by participants were typical of the literature on healthcare disparities.

Significance Of Results: Providers at the front lines of care offer a rich source of insight into the operation of disparities, pointing to mechanisms rarely identified in traditional quantitative studies. They are also well positioned to advocate for more equitable care at the local level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S147895151200106XDOI Listing
June 2014

Evaluating survivorship care plans: results of a randomized, clinical trial of patients with breast cancer.

J Clin Oncol 2011 Dec 31;29(36):4755-62. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario, Canada.

Purpose: An Institute of Medicine report recommends that patients with cancer receive a survivorship care plan (SCP). The trial objective was to determine if an SCP for breast cancer survivors improves patient-reported outcomes.

Patients And Methods: Women with early-stage breast cancer who completed primary treatment at least 3 months previously were eligible. Consenting patients were allocated within two strata: less than 24 months and ≥ 24 months since diagnosis. All patients were transferred to their own primary care physician (PCP) for follow-up. In addition to a discharge visit, the intervention group received an SCP, which was reviewed during a 30-minute educational session with a nurse, and their PCP received the SCP and guideline on follow-up. The primary outcome was cancer-related distress at 12 months, assessed by the Impact of Event Scale (IES). Secondary outcomes included quality of life, patient satisfaction, continuity/coordination of care, and health service measures.

Results: Overall, 408 survivors were enrolled through nine tertiary cancer centers. There were no differences between groups on cancer-related distress or on any of the patient-reported secondary outcomes, and there were no differences when the two strata were analyzed separately. More patients in the intervention than control group correctly identify their PCP as primarily responsible for follow-up (98.7% v 89.1%; difference, 9.6%; 95% CI, 3.9 to 15.9; P = .005).

Conclusion: The results do not support the hypothesis that SCPs are beneficial for improving patient-reported outcomes. Transferring follow-up to PCPs is considered an important strategy to meet the demand for scarce oncology resources. SCPs were no better than a standard discharge visit with the oncologist to facilitate transfer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2011.36.8373DOI Listing
December 2011

"I like to be an informed person but..." negotiating responsibility for treatment decisions in cancer care.

Soc Sci Med 2010 Sep 23;71(6):1094-101. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

School of Social Work & Department of Health, Aging and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Social expectations surrounding sickness have undergone a transformation in Western welfare states. Emerging discourses about patients' roles and responsibilities do not however always map neatly onto patients' actions, experiences or desires. This paper emerges from a study in Ontario, Canada. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 5 women diagnosed with breast cancer we explore the activity and effort prompted for patients by the routine professional practice of outlining treatment options and encouraging patients to choose between them. We highlight research participants' complex responses to their responsibility for treatment decisions: their accepting, deflecting and reframing and their active negotiation of responsibility with professionals. The literature on treatment decision making typically characterizes people who resist taking an active role as overwhelmed, misinformed about the nature of treatment decisions, or more generally lacking capacity to participate. In this paper we suggest that patients' expressions of ambivalence about making treatment choices can be understood otherwise: as efforts to recast the identities and positions they and their physicians are assigned in the organization of cancer care. We also begin to map key features of this organization, particularly discourses of patient empowerment, and evidence-based medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.06.005DOI Listing
September 2010

Cancer-related pain management: a report of evidence-based recommendations to guide practice.

Clin J Pain 2010 Jul-Aug;26(6):449-62

Nursing and Psychosocial Oncology, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Objectives: Cancer may be associated with many symptoms, but pain is the one most feared by patients. Pain is experienced by one-third of patients receiving treatment for cancer and about two-thirds of those with advanced cancers. To aid in providing quality care and pain relief for cancer patients, Cancer Care Ontario's Cancer-related Pain Management Guideline Panel conducted a systematic review of guidelines to provide evidence-based and consensus recommendations for the management of cancer-related pain to guide the practice of healthcare providers.

Methods: Published and unpublished cancer-related pain management guidelines were sought by conducting an Internet search, which included health organizations and the National Guidelines Clearinghouse, the Guideline International Network, and the McMillan Group. Also, MEDLINE searches were conducted for guidelines published between the years 2000 and May 2006.

Results: Twenty-five guidelines were found and the quality of each guideline was evaluated using the Appraisal of Guideline Research and Evaluation Instrument and the utility of the guideline for recommendations was assessed. Using these 2 criteria, 8 relevant and high-quality pain guidelines were identified. From these guidelines, the Panel articulated core principles of the management of cancer pain and selected or adapted specific recommendations through consensus to become a part of the cancer-related pain guide for practice.

Discussion: The domains on which recommendations were drafted include: assessment of pain; assessors of pain; time and frequency of assessment; components of pain assessment; assessment of pain in special populations; plan of care; pharmacologic intervention; nonpharmacologic intervention; documentation; education; and outcome measures of cancer-pain management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181dacd62DOI Listing
September 2010

Treatment decision making and its discontents.

Soc Work Health Care 2009 ;48(6):614-34

Department of Health, Aging, and Society, and School of Social Work, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Patient participation in treatment decision making is held as a virtue in clinical contexts, and has much to recommend it. Yet important questions have been raised about the assumptions underlying models of patient participation. Debates have arisen about the significance of medically defined risks and outcomes of treatment; the adequacy and relevance across social groups of the concept of autonomy; and the emphasis on the professional-patient dyad. This article contributes to the debate about treatment decision making with reference to a study focused on older women with cancer. Interviews with patients and cancer care professionals highlighted the salience to patients' treatment choices of experiential knowledge, social roles and responsibilities, and the health policy context. It appears that prevailing models of decision making may obscure patients' more typical decision processes as well as the social determinants of those choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00981380902831303DOI Listing
December 2009

I'm nursing as fast as I can: how the history of cancer and cancer care informs the future of oncology nursing.

Can Oncol Nurs J 2009 ;19(2):78-81

Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology.

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November 2009

Disruption foreclosed: older women's cancer narratives.

Health (London) 2008 Jul;12(3):389-411

McMaster University,, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

A challenge has emerged to Bury's (1982) conceptualization of chronic illness as biographical disruption. The idea that certain life circumstances--notably older age or the presence of significant health and social problems--render the experience of chronic illness biographically 'continuous' or 'reinforcing' has gained currency in the social study of chronic illness. This article draws from a qualitative study with women diagnosed with cancer in their 70s or 80s. Respondents' narratives suggest that a long life, especially a life characterized by struggle, does provide a context for the assessment of cancer as non-disruptive. However, the study offers evidence that a long life characterized by sufficiency may also be associated with an assessment of cancer as non-disruptive, and that older age and hardship sometimes render chronic illness especially problematic.Centrally, the article examines respondents' oft-cited commitment to avoid ;dwelling' on illness, highlighting how broad cultural and moral discourses, patterns of social interaction and structures of power combine to foreclose older women's accounts of disruption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363459308090055DOI Listing
July 2008

Lymphedema in women with breast cancer: characteristics of patients screened for a randomized trial.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2008 Jul 13;110(2):337-42. Epub 2007 Sep 13.

Department of Oncology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Introduction: Accrual rates for a randomized trial of decongestive therapy in breast cancer patients with lymphedema were lower than anticipated. In two centres, patients presenting to lymphedema clinic were screened for eligibility to understand the accrual process and help define the patient population.

Materials And Methods: All breast cancer patients presenting to two lymphedema clinics in regional cancer centres were screened for study entry. Circumferential arm measurements were taken and volumes calculated. Patients were then screened for trial eligibility. All report forms were sent to the trial coordinating centre.

Results: A total of 408 patients were screened. Median arm volume excess was 239 ml (9.5%). One third of patients had little or no excess volume. Only 28.3% of patients had sufficient excess volume for trial eligibility. Of these, a significant number of patients were excluded because of active malignancy or previous decongestive therapy.

Conclusions: The finding of moderate to severe lymphedema observed in clinics screening for trial eligibility was less than expected. The natural history of lymphedema in breast cancer patients is potentially changing. Some patients may be presenting with sensory changes suggestive of lymphedema but due to other causes, such as nerve disruption following axillary dissection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-007-9727-0DOI Listing
July 2008

Cancer care from the perspectives of older women.

Oncol Nurs Forum 2005 Nov 3;32(6):1169-75. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

Health Studies Programme and School of Social Work at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

Purpose/objectives: To understand how older age affects cancer care, from the perspectives of older women.

Research Approach: Qualitative, participatory.

Setting: Urban southern region of Ontario, Canada.

Participants: Purposive sample (age groups and income) of 15 women diagnosed with cancer at age 70 or older; 10 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, 5 with gynecologic cancer.

Methodologic Approach: Two face-to-face interviews, with data analysis in collaboration with the project team based on constructivist grounded theory, including negative case analysis.

Main Research Variables: Age, experience of cancer care.

Findings: Age-related life and health circumstances intersect with professional practice and wider social contexts and are implicated in treatment decision making, including decisions against treatment, as well as in the day-to-day "getting around" that cancer care requires.

Conclusions: The nursing history should be holistic in scope, attending to the supportive care domains to elicit older women's physical, social, practical, informational, psychological, and spiritual needs after a diagnosis of cancer. History taking should draw forward older women's life contexts and examine these contexts in relation to cancer care, including treatment decision making.

Interpretation: Individual-level care and systems advocacy are required to ensure that older women's worries about sustaining independence, including worries generated by inadequacies in home-based care, do not act as determinants of treatment choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1188/05.ONF.1169-1175DOI Listing
November 2005
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