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21

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Distress, Version 1.2017

2

How distressed are you?

Review

Nurses

The field of nursing greatly varies. The nurse on your

cancer care team is likely an RN (

r

egistered

n

urse).

RNs have earned at least an associate’s degree or a

diploma from a hospital-based program. All RNs are

licensed to practice.

Some RNs go on to earn a master’s or doctoral

degree in nursing. They can also obtain certification

to become an expert in certain areas. Examples of

certification include oncology and psychiatry.

You may receive care from an NP (

n

urse

p

racititioner). An NP has earned at least a master’s

degree in nursing, is licensed, and has passed

a national certification exam. NPs provide more

comprehensive care than RNs. In some states, they

can prescribe medicines.

Nurses are often the first to detect that a person is

distressed. They may be the one to screen you for

distress. They will also inform your cancer care team

of your state.

Nurses also provide a range of services for distress

treatment. They can help with practical matters,

provide counseling, and refer you to other experts.

Review

†

†

A screening tool for distress is a brief survey

of your perceived distress. The Distress

Thermometer and Problem List were created by

NCCN experts to assess the level and nature of

your distress.

†

†

Distress screening that is paired with help for

related problems can be very helpful.

†

†

Your cancer care team can assess you for

distress at future visits and provide help for mild

distress.

†

†

Experts in distress have obtained education,

training, and credentials to conduct evaluations

and provide treatment. Depending on your

needs, you may be referred to a chaplain,

social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist,

psychiatric nurse, or other mental health

professional.

Cancer and my health situation have

given me a new perspective. For one

thing, I don’t take any day for granted.

–Leonard

Survivor, Multiple Myeloma