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Personal Perspectives: Having a Prostatectomy and the Role of the Cancer Specialist Nurse

Authors Taylor-Robinson SD, Dykes K, Hawkes B

Received 13 June 2020

Accepted for publication 9 September 2020

Published 19 October 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 897—901


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Simon D Taylor-Robinson,1 Kathy Dykes,2 Bethan Hawkes3

1Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, St Mary’s Hospital Campus, London W2 1NY, UK; 2Department of Surgery, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, Wales SA6 6NL, UK; 3Wales Cancer Network, NHS Wales Health Collaborative, Cardiff, Wales CF15 9SS, UK

Correspondence: Simon D Taylor-Robinson Email

Background: Doctors are often ill-prepared to become patients, despite knowing the technicalities of surgical procedures and the day-to-day workings of hospital life intimately. Surrendering the decision-making process to other healthcare professionals can be an unnerving process for many of those who are medically qualified.
Aim: Although the sequelae of prostatectomy have often been written about, little is in the literature from medically qualified patients about their personal experiences of the procedure. We aimed to highlight areas where communication between medically qualified patients and their carers may be strengthened.
Methods and Results: We present a personal perspective of the emotional issues surrounding a potential cancer diagnosis, the experience of having a prostatectomy and what the hospital encounters were like in reality with a viewpoint of informing the medical profession in providing better patient information when they ask “what will it be like?”. From this perspective, the critical role of the cancer specialist nurse is highlighted as the lynch pin in providing a continuing source of information to medically qualified patients and in not treating them as omniscient, simply because of a medical degree.
Conclusion: Prostatectomy is a common procedure, but often questions about recovery after the procedure including impotence and incontinence are left unanswered in dealing with medically qualified colleagues when they are patients. Human behaviour is predictable, and medically qualified patients are just as apt to forget what is said to them as anyone else. However, the central role of the cancer specialist nurse as the bridge between the medical team and the patient should not be underestimated.

Keywords: prostatectomy, specialist cancer nursing, psychological complications, physical complications

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