First Advisor

Ernst, Diane

Thesis Committee Member(s)

McCallum, Colleen


McCallum, Colleen & Finn, Cris


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice


Loretto Heights School of Nursing

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

176 pages


The purpose of this Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Capstone Project was to identify, assess, and refer patients who are experiencing an elevated level of distress as measured by the NCCN Distress Thermometer. The goal of this project was to decrease the psychosocial distress level in patients receiving chemotherapy. The primary objective of this evidence-based practice project was to decrease distress in oncology patients. The secondary objective was to formally adopt the NCCN clinical practice guidelines for distress management in ambulatory oncology patients. The NCCN Distress Thermometer (DT) was utilized to measure the distress level of ambulatory oncology patients currently receiving chemotherapy in an outpatient infusion center. The capstone project received Institutional Review Board approval from Regis University as well as the New England Institutional Review Board and met exempt status. A total of 21 ambulatory oncology patients participated in this project. The majority of patients (57%) presented with clinical evidence of moderate to severe distress as evidenced by a distress score of >4. Data analysis revealed an overall decrease in distress scores. However, there was not a statistically significant difference in individual distress scores. The NCCN Distress Thermometer facilitated the identification, assessment, and treatment of distress in ambulatory oncology patients. As a result of this project, the NCCN Distress Management clinical practice guidelines have been formally integrated into routine nursing assessments.

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.