Document Type

Journal Article


Research India Publications

Place of Publication



Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Witney, C., Hendricks, J., & Cope, V. (2015). The specialist breast care nurse's role in the identification and minimisation of distress in a members' only, breast cancer focused online support community. International Journal of Nursing & Clincal Practices, 2 (139). Available here


Objectives: To show how a specialist breast care nurse (SBCN) can use the distress thermometer to determine an online community member’s distress level and then use the information in their posts and blogs to identify the cause(s) and deal with them appropriately. To highlight the use of a structured written emotional expression (SWEE) format online, as a way of minimising distress. Method: A survey of online community members together with analysis of the content of members’ posts and blogs to determine whether their distress thermometer score had decreased since the SBCN had been online to deal with member distress. Results: The survey showed that four of the survey participants who completed the survey N=30 had completed a SWEE, been personal messaged by the SBCN about their distress thermometer score and declared that the information and advice they received had been instrumental in decreasing their distress score. It was not possible to identify whether a SWEE made any difference to the Distress Score. Conclusion : The SBCN can use the Distress Thermometer tool online to screen for member distress and deal with this distress through information, advice and support or referral to another health professional. A DT scores should be repeated before and after each of the breast cancer treatment stages so that appropriate interventions can be put in place to minimise or prevent the member’s distress. Specialist nurses in other specialised nursing areas can use the distress thermometer to measure and address the problems/issues causing support community members distress. That the content of a SWEE is one way in which members can document and vent about the problems causing their distress and this information can be used by the nurse to put in place appropriate solution or provide advice and support.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.