Oncology Nurses from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Shine a Light on Education

Anxiety Reduction is Subject of Research Presented at Oncology Nursing Society Congress
May 10, 2010

New Brunswick, N.J.– Florence Nightingale once stated that nursing is an art that requires as much devotion and preparation as any painting or sculpture. This sentiment is echoed in the work of today’s nurses and their pursuit of both clinical knowledge and technical expertise. Nurses from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) and throughout the country, will be doing their part in contributing to the art of nursing when presenting at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 35th Annual Congress being held this week in San Diego, California. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The conference features presentations and poster sessions on site-specific cancers, prevention, detection, symptom management, treatment advances and other topics dedicated to oncology nursing. One such presentation features the work of CINJ nurse Joyce Plaza, BSN, RN, OCN, and looks at the use of multimedia education for reducing the amount of anxiety experienced by nurses when performing high-risk procedures that are infrequently performed. The focus of the work is the creation of audiovisual materials concerning care for patients with a hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) pump.

A HAI pump is surgically inserted into the abdomen and periodically filled with chemotherapy to deliver treatment directly to the liver. At CINJ, this treatment is reserved for select patients meeting specific disease criteria. Because relatively few patients qualify for HAI chemotherapy, oncology nurses may be somewhat less familiar with it. The availability of education materials, such as Plaza’s, serves to lessen any resulting anxiety for patients and the nursing staff alike.

Although a written HAI policy/procedure is available for nurses to consult prior to seeing the patient, little decrease in anxiety level has been reported, according to the presentation. Other study has shown that more effective and compelling education techniques help to decrease anxiety, promote early recognition of adverse events, improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and empower patients to participate in their healthcare. This is why Plaza helped develop a program in which the videotaped procedure will be made available in an electronic file alongside the written material for oncology nurses to access at any time.

Plaza notes the importance of creating a library of multimedia materials. “Not only does the combination of written and visual materials promote self-paced learning with greater chances of retention, but it also allows us to account for institution-specific equipment and technique. We need to explore every means available to further educate nurses and increase their comfort level with these procedures, because a comfortable nurse means a comfortable patient,” she said.

A pilot of the program, co-developed by CINJ Interim Associate Director of Intra and Extramural Nursing Education Leah Scaramuzzo, MSN, RN-BC, AOCN, who also is an oncology education specialist, is expected to launch later this spring. Both Plaza and Scaramuzzo hope a successful implementation and positive feedback from nurses and patients will allow for the creation of audiovisual materials for other high-risk, low-volume procedures.

About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. CINJ’s physician-scientists engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support CINJ, call 732-235-8614 or visit CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

The CINJ Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides a mechanism to rapidly disseminate important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Hospital, Cooper University Hospital and Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: Bayshore Community Hospital, CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Mountainside Hospital, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (CINJ at Hamilton), Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Somerset Medical Center, Southern Ocean County Hospital, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center at Princeton. *Academic Affiliate



Michele Fisher


precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute







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