Purpose: To describe the physical activity (PA) promotion practices, beliefs, and barriers of Indian nurses working with cancer survivors, and to gain preliminary insights into how their educational qualification might affect PA promotion practices.
Methods: A validated questionnaire was used to obtain the data ( N = 388). Sub-group comparisons were performed based on nursing qualification i.e., Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSc) and General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) using Mann-Whitney U test and chi square analysis for continuous and categorical variables, respectively.
Results: The nurses believed that oncologists (47%) followed by physiotherapists (28.9%) were primarily responsible for providing information regarding PA to cancer survivors. The most common period in which the nurses' promoted PA was post treatment (31.7%), although very few nurses (13.3%) promoted PA across more than one of the three treatment periods. Nurses felt that PA had many benefits for cancer survivors; improved mental health (87.7%) and HRQoL (81.1%). Lack of knowledge (42.2%) and lack of time (41.6%) were the most frequently cited barriers. The comparisons based on educational qualification did not typically reveal many significant differences.
Conclusion: Indian nurses both BSc and GNM qualified, wish to promote PA to cancer survivors despite numerous barriers, across various stages of treatment and believe PA is beneficial to the survivors in the process of recovery. Overcoming these barriers might aid in better promotion of PA to cancer survivors.
Implication for cancer survivors: Nurses working in a tertiary care hospital in India are willing to promote PA amongst cancer survivors but require more training and support in this area of practice.