Neilson, Sue, Faith Gibson, & Stephen Jeffares, & Sheila M Greenfield (2017). GPs and paediatric oncology palliative care: A Q methodological study. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2015-000852) (Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2015-000852)

Abstract: Objective: This mixed-methods study set in the West Midlands region of the UK demonstrates the effectiveness of Q methodology in examining general practitioners’ (GPs’) perception of their role in children’s oncology palliative care. Methods: Using data obtained from the analysis of semistructured interviews with GPs who had cared for a child receiving palliative care at home and bereaved parents, 50 statements were identified as representative of the analysis findings. 32 GPs with a non-palliative child with cancer on their caseload were asked to rank the statements according to their level of agreement/disagreement on a grid. They were then asked to reflect and comment on the statements they most and least agreed with. The data were analysed using a dedicated statistical software package for Q analysis PQMethod V.2.20 (Schmolck 2012). A centroid factor analysis was undertaken initially with 7 factors then repeated for factors 1-6. Varimax and manual flagging was then completed. Results: 4 shared viewpoints were identified denoting different GP roles: the GP, the compassionate practitioner, the team player practitioner and the pragmatic practitioner. In addition consensus (time pressures, knowledge deficits, emotional toll) and disagreement (psychological support, role, experiential learning, prior relationships) between the viewpoints were identified and examined. Conclusions: Q methodology, used for the first time in this arena, identified 4 novel and distinct viewpoints reflecting a diverse range of GP perspectives. Appropriately timed and targeted GP education, training, support, in conjunction with collaborative multiprofessional working, have the potential to inform their role and practice across specialities.

Sue Neilson <s.j.neilson@bham.ac.uk> is with the Institute of Clinical Sciences, College of Medical & Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

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