Conceptual and methodological Issues in Symptom Cluster Research
The current ANS featured article is titled “Advances in Conceptual and Methodological Issues in
Symptom Cluster Research: A 20-Year Perspective” authored by Carolyn S. Harris, BSN, RN; Marylin Dodd, PhD, RN; Kord M. Kober, PhD; Anand A. Dhruva, MD; Marilyn J. Hammer, PhD, RN; Yvette P. Conley, PhD; and Christine A. Miaskowski, PhD, RN. The article is available for free download here while it is featured, and we welcome you to read the article and share your comments here. Carolyn Harris shared this message about her work for ANS readers:
My program of research is centered on the identification of phenotypic characteristics and molecular markers that place patients with cancer at increased risk for a higher symptom burden. This research is informed by several years of experience as an oncology nurse where I witnessed firsthand the complexity of effective symptom management. For example, while patients with cancer often report multiple, co-occurring symptoms, these symptoms are often assessed and treated one-by-one. In addition, the symptom experience of these patients is highly variable: with some patients reporting several severe and distressing symptoms and others reporting a lower number of symptoms with lower severity. As described in this paper, symptom cluster research has the potential to address these important clinical issues and improve the symptom experience of patients with a variety of chronic conditions. This paper provides conceptual clarity for the application of two analytical approaches to symptom cluster research and describes novel methods that have recently emerged to facilitate our understanding of symptom clusters.