Role of Moroccan Nurses working in oncology department on identifying and managing the mental distress of cancer patients


Published on: 2021-12-06


The incidence and mortality associated with cancer are steadily increasing around the world. In low- and middle-income countries such as Morocco, significant progress has been made in the treatment of cancer. However, the mental health disorders associated with this disease are generally underdiagnosed and underestimated by the health care system. The main objective of this study is to explore the perceptions of nurses within cancer centers regarding the assessment of mental health distress in cancer patients. To achieve this objective, we carried out a quantitative cross-sectional descriptive study among practicing nurses in oncology services (N = 100). Thus, the main results of this study indicated, on the one hand, that: The vast majority (95.12%) of nurses confirm the presence of psychological needs in their patients, 82% of participants think that all cancer patients require screening and an assessment of distress as well as 70.7% of these participants considered that this assessment is extremely important and must be taken into account in the treatment trajectory. In addition, the vast majority (91.5%) of nurses surveyed have not received any training in psycho-oncology, and yet 95.12% state that they encounter patients who suffer from mental disorders. On the other hand, there are several barriers that hinder this evaluation, including the overload of work, the lack of training in psycho-oncology, the challenges of time and human resources. In addition, the implementation of a screening tool for mental distress in oncology services was recommended with certain criteria by the vast majority of nurses surveyed. Ultimately, a systematic and rapid assessment of symptoms of mental distress is essential to differentiate between normal emotional responses and psycho-pathological disorders, and then referral of the patient to specialist care.