Purpose: To examine the perspectives of medical and nursing health professionals concerning their roles and responsibilities in providing dietary and exercise advice to cancer survivors, and referrals to allied health professionals.
Methods: An integrative review. PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, Web of Science databases, and bibliographies of relevant studies were searched from December 2011 to June 2021. All studies were eligible for inclusion. The Mixed-Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) was used to critically appraise included studies. Data were extracted and synthesised regarding the perspectives of medical and nursing health professionals on their roles, responsibilities, barriers, and facilitators.
Results: Twenty-one studies involving 3401 medical and nursing health professionals and 264 cancer survivors of diverse cancer types were included. Ten quantitative, nine qualitative, and two mixed-methods studies were eligible. All included studies met at least 80% of the quality criteria in the MMAT. Major findings include the following: (1) medical and nursing health professionals were unclear on their roles in providing dietary and exercise advice to cancer survivors but agreed they play a key role in referrals to dietitians and exercise professionals; (2) most cancer survivors valued the involvement of their general practitioner when receiving dietary and exercise advice.
Conclusion: Although medical and nursing health professionals understand that referrals to allied health professionals form part of their role, there is a lack of clarity regarding their roles to provide dietary and exercise advice to cancer survivors. Future studies should address barriers and facilitators of dietary and exercise advice and referral by medical and nursing health professionals.
- Cancer survivor
- Health personnel
- Physical activity