Enhancing self-efficacy for optimized patient outcomes through the theory of symptom self-management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Background: In today's world, greater patient empowerment is imperative because 90 million Americans live with 1 or more chronic conditions such as cancer. Evidence reveals that healthy behaviors such as effective symptom self-management can prevent or reduce much of the suffering from cancer. Oncology nurses play a pivotal role in developing a symptom self-management plan that is critical to optimizing a patient's symptom self-management behaviors. Objective: This article uses exemplars to describe how oncology nurses can apply a tested middle-range theory, the Theory of Symptom Self-management, to clinical practice by incorporating interventions to increase a patient's perceived self-efficacy to optimize patient outcomes. Methods: The Theory of Symptom Self-management provides a means to understand the dynamic aspects of symptom self-management and provides a tested framework for the development of efficacy-enhancing interventions for use by oncology nurses in clinical practice. Results: Exemplars based on the Theory of Symptom Self-management depict how oncology nursing can use perceived self-efficacy-enhancing symptom self-management interventions to improve the functional status and quality of life of their patients. Conclusion: Guided by a theoretical approach, oncology nurses can have a significant positive impact on the lives of their patients by reducing the symptom burden associated with cancer and its treatment. Implications for Practice: Oncology nurses can partner with their patients to design tailored approaches to symptom self-management. These tailored approaches provide the ability to implement patient-specific behaviors that recognize, prevent, relieve, or decrease the timing, intensity, distress, concurrence, and unpleasant quality of symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E16-E26
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bandura
  • Cancer
  • Chronic disease
  • Chronic illness
  • Middle-range theory
  • Oncology
  • Self-efficacy
  • Self-management
  • Symptom
  • Symptom management
  • Symptom self-management
  • Symptoms
  • Theory of Symptom
  • Theory of Unpleasant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing self-efficacy for optimized patient outcomes through the theory of symptom self-management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this