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Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Effects and feasibility of a multi-disciplinary orientation program for newly registered cancer patients: design of a randomised controlled trial

Raymond Chan13*, Joan Webster23 and Linda Bennett1

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Care Services, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Butterfield Street, Herston, QLD 4029, Queensland, Australia

2 Centre for Clinical Nursing, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Butterfield Street, Herston, QLD 4029, Queensland, Australia

3 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia

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BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:203  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-203

Published: 11 November 2009



Diagnosis and treatment of cancer can contribute to psychological distress and anxiety amongst patients. Evidence indicates that information giving can be beneficial in reducing patient anxiety, so oncology specific information may have a major impact on this patient group. This study investigates the effects of an orientation program on levels of anxiety and self-efficacy amongst newly registered cancer patients who are about to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy in the cancer care centre of a large tertiary Australian hospital.


The concept of interventions for orienting new cancer patients needs revisiting due to the dynamic health care system. Historically, most orientation programs at this cancer centre were conducted by one nurse. A randomised controlled trial has been designed to test the effectiveness of an orientation program with bundled interventions; a face-to-face program which includes introduction to the hospital facilities, introduction to the multi-disciplinary team and an overview of treatment side effects and self care strategies. The aim is to orientate patients to the cancer centre and to meet the health care team. We hypothesize that patients who receive this orientation will experience lower levels of anxiety and distress, and a higher level of self-efficacy.


An orientation program is a common health care service provided by cancer care centres for new cancer patients. Such programs aim to give information to patients at the beginning of their encounter at a cancer care centre. It is clear in the literature that interventions that aim to improve self-efficacy in patients may demonstrate potential improvement in health outcomes. Yet, evidence on the effects of orientation programs for cancer patients on self-efficacy remains scarce, particularly with respect to the use of multidisciplinary team members. This paper presents the design of a randomised controlled trial that will evaluate the effects and feasibility of a multidisciplinary orientation program for new cancer patients.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ACTRN12609000018213