Access to Care
The October – December 2022 issue of ANS (45:4) is just published! The first ANS featured article in this issue is titled “Access Denied: Nurses’ Perspectives of Access to Oncology Care Among Indigenous Peoples in Canada” authored by Tara C. Horrill, PhD, RN; Donna E. Martin, PhD, RN; Josée G. Lavoie, PhD; and Annette S. H. Schultz, PhD, RN. You can download and read this article at no cost while it is featured, and we welcome your comments about this work here! Dr. Horrill shared this information about this work for ANS readers:
My program of research centers on health and healthcare inequities in the cancer care sector. The research findings reported in “Access Denied…” represents one component of a multiple methods study that investigated issues of access to cancer care among Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and was the final component of my doctoral dissertation. My interest in issues of inequitable access to cancer care and Indigenous Peoples was born out of my experiences as a clinical oncology nurse, and repeatedly seeing Indigenous patients be diagnosed with advanced cancers, often cancers that we have the ability to detect early and treat. As I started to ask questions of clinicians around me as to why we were seeing these patterns, the responses I received often attributed these late diagnoses to “lifestyle” choices or increased cancer risk. Yet there seemed to be more to the picture that I wasn’t hearing, and I wondered about issues of accessibility, which formed the basis of my dissertation research. The findings reported in this article focus specifically on interviews with oncology nurses to understand their perspectives on the barriers to and facilitators of access to oncology care, which has not yet been explored in existing literature. We were particularly interested in nurses’ perspectives as they provide the bulk of clinical care, daily navigate the tensions between individual patient experiences of illness and suffering and the health system in which they work, and also have experiences of caring for Indigenous patients over time and various practice settings. Nurses provided important insights into many of the challenges surrounding access to oncology care and drew attention to the actual and potential work of oncology nurses in addressing these inequities. It seems the role of nurses is not often considered in relation to healthcare access, however these findings open space to not only see the valuable work being done by nurses, but to consider where and how we, as a profession, could better to confront inequities in access to oncology care for Indigenous Peoples by addressing healthcare access at all levels.