Perceptions of the role of the breast care nurse in the breast screening assessment unit

  • J. M. Clarke

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    This study aimed to explore the role of the breast care nurse (BCN), gain greater understanding of their function and inform future practice within the Breast Screening Assessment clinic (BSAC).

    The research was based on qualitative research and utilised an interpretive qualitative approach within a phenomenological framework. Data was collected through 12 semi-structured interviews with clients, BCNs and radiology staff working in a BSAC. Analysis of the interview data utilised a method of Inductive Thematic Analysis.

    Findings and discussion
    Five categories were generated from the data, ‘Person Centred Care’, ‘Interactional Support’, ‘Defining the Role’, ‘Organisational Issues’ and ‘Clinical Practice/New Opportunities’. Views and experiences from each participant were considered within the context of these themes. The findings of this study recognised the proficiency of the BCN in their communication skills and provision of psychological support. However, role ambiguity and organisational issues appear to impact on BCN performance within this setting. There are various reasons for this, including lack of role definition, service limitations, team dynamics and effective team working. Role development is seemingly influenced by individual BCN perception of the scope of the role, level of experience and educational requirements. A table of recommendations is given to inform enhanced effectiveness of the BCN role in BSAC and optimal client care. Further research is recommended to evaluate the effectiveness of the BCN in terms of breast awareness within this setting.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorMargaret Goodman (Supervisor) & Christine Wright (Supervisor)


    • healthcare
    • oncology
    • breast cancer
    • breast screening
    • nursing

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