“THE PERCEIVED IMPACT OF SUPPLEMENTAL TREATMENT FOR CANCER PATIENTS”
When I first started this research, I assumed that it would all be smooth sailing, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to coordinate my schedule with the schedules of the interviewees, which is a major part of my research. I forgot that prior to beginning interviews you have to be approved by the Internal Review Board, so my whole initial schedule had been thrown off, so instead of starting with interviews I had to begin with online research. So far, I have done a lot of literary searches on our topics, and what I have learned is the importance of the wording of the searches you do. I had to make many adjustments to get the types of articles I wanted, and there were sometimes I felt I found the perfect article and then read it fully and realized it didn’t quite fit my criteria.
I just completed my study abroad course where we had to learn how to use data bases like “Pubmed” to find articles that supported our case studies, and funny enough one of my topics was utilizing exercise in the treatments of breast cancer patients. I was thankful for this because my professors explained how we should search these topics, and I was able to use this knowledge in my own research.
After looking at my results I have found that these supplementary treatments have had major positive impacts on the treatments of many cancer patients. One person I have interviewed so far explained that if it weren’t for her increase of spirituality and support system, she would not be alive today. I have found that the addition of personal interviews to the literary research have made the work so much more meaningful. It adds a face and a story to the findings.
Although I have not completed the entirety of the research, I have learned the importance these types of research have on cancer patients. It makes me feel like what I am doing is important, which makes this whole experience worthwhile. Hopefully I can utilize this information in my practice when I do become an oncology nurse. It also made me learn the importance of listening to people and their stories. You can learn so much if you combine data and the person, because every single person is so different in how they cope and how they react to their cancer treatments, no textbook can tell you how a patient wants to be cared for and what they would like to use as a complementary treatment.
When trying to choose a topic, Brina and I decided we wanted to pick a topic that was meaningful to us, that we felt passionate about, and that we both found relatable and important. It just so happened that both of us felt a connection to the topic of cancer. We also just took a course called “Mindfulness and Cultural Intelligence” together which sparked the idea of what kind of impact does Mindfulness play on Cancer patients. That idea then bloomed to many different types of supplemental treatments and from that point on we were both all in. We were both thrilled when Dr. Maxam expressed the same interest and passion in this idea and that’s how we created our title “The Perceived Impact of Supplemental Treatments on Cancer Patients”.
Underneath that title we picked six subcategories which include the impact of support systems, spirituality, diet, mindfulness/yoga, exercise, and milestones/positive thinking. We will be interviewing cancer survivors on their experiences and getting feedback from them on how these subtopics played a role in their own personal cancer treatments as well as doing a literature search on these subtopics. Together they will create a strong base for our postings. Afterwards we will be creating a Facebook page where we will be posting blogs/newsletters containing our research from each individual subtopic as well as a background posting explaining what cancer and supplemental treatments are. This platform was chosen to bring more awareness to our research. Social media tends to bring in a larger audience than just posting on a blog website, and we would like to make the information more accessible to others. Cancer diagnosis is so common that we are hopeful our research will make a difference in the treatment of cancer patients or families of cancer patients that read our posts.
We want to start by understanding what cancer is as a whole, some of the primary treatments as well as the effects of these treatments. Understanding the basics will help us form a strong argument for our research. From there we can better understand what some of the supplemental treatments are, in what ways they are used, and the perceived benefits of the use of these treatments.
I am hoping to become an oncology nurse in the future, so through this project I will be gaining knowledge regarding oncology itself, the primary treatments, and the beneficial outcomes of the supplementary treatments, all of which I believe will be valuable.