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Identifying communication needs and preferences of a global nursing community

Close up of a person's hand holding pen and taking a survey

The Neuro-Oncology Nursing Network (NONN) is a global community of nurses and others who are interested in collaboration, sharing knowledge, and peer support to advance the care and survivorship of pediatric neuro-oncology patients.

The network began a few years ago as the NeuroOnc Nurse listserv. It is being relaunched by Christine Chordas, PNP, Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and other pediatric neuro-oncology experts. The Health Communication Core (HCC) assisted with its development and technology.

More than 170 nurses from around the world were already part of this group. To better understand their informational needs and communication preferences, HCC invited them to complete a brief online survey.

Twenty percent of the group’s members--from 13 states in the US and from Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the UK--responded. Graphs of select data are provided below.

What did we learn from this global group of pediatric neuro-oncology nurses?

Informational needs

Nurses most often turned to their colleagues for information. This underscores the value of a digital community of colleagues practicing in diverse settings.

Journals were also useful sources of knowledge, and 88% of respondents wanted to be able to access journal citations on a website. NONN members can use the network to share and access useful, relevant articles.

The topics that were of of greatest interest were:

  • Family-centered care and the psychosocial impact on child and family
  • Patient and family needs after discharge
  • Patient and family education

Mentoring and being mentored were suggested as additional functions of the network.

Information and communication technology preferences

Desktop computers (72%) were the preferred device for connecting to colleagues and information, but in terms of actual use, 75% of respondents also used smart phones and 69% used laptops.

Email was overwhelmingly the preferred technology for discussion (85%) but 78% also indicated they would like access to information via a secure website. There was little interest in using newer technologies like Skype and Google Hangouts, collaborative technologies such as Google Docs/Drive, or social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn.

How will we use this information?

We wanted to confirm that email was the right format for the group’s discussion. Having done that, we shared the survey results among the group to help create a sense of community, and more broadly to increase awareness of the NONN (new members are welcome and can join online at

Identification of the most popular topics can help guide participants in launching discussions and sharing information.

The high level of interest in a website helps create the case for identifying the necessary resources to develop one, and is being explored.

Response data (partial)

If you have a question about pediatric neuro-oncology, where do you seek information?

Graphy showing response data about where nurses' seek information

How do you stay informed about new developments in pediatric neuro-oncology?

Graphy showing response data about how nurses stay informed

Please check the topics below that are of interest to you. (Please check all that apply)

Graphy showing response data about nurses interests

Please suggest resources that would be helpful to you if they were available online. (Please check all that apply)

Graphy showing response data about what resources nurses would find helpful

What devices do you use to connect with others and access information?

Graphy showing response data about what devices nurses use to connect to others

Which device do you prefer to connect with others and access information?

Graphy showing response data about what devices nurses prefer to use to access information and connect with others

Which would you prefer for posting and discussing questions, presentations, news, etc.? (Check all that apply)

Graphy showing response data about which means nurses would prefer for posting discussion questions

Contact us for more information

Christine Chordas, PNP, Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (

Catherine Coleman, Assistant director, Health Communication Core, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (