The Impact of Providing Peer Support within a Research Context: A Qualitative Insight into Delivering a Combined Nurse-Peer Psychosocial Intervention for Gynaecological Cancer Patients (#277)
Aims: Research into one-to-one peer support (PS) has predominantly focused on the recipients of PS, whilst essentially neglecting the impact on the PS providers. Experiences of providers of PS are especially relevant given a recent trend to shift one-to-one PS out of informal settings and into structured psychosocial interventions. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of individuals providing PS within a research context, as part of a structured psychosocial intervention.
Method: Twelve women providing PS within a multi-site RCT (The PeNTAGOn Study, a nurse- and peer-led intervention to support women with gynaecological cancer undergoing radiotherapy), participated in semi-structured telephone interviews. Systematic recruitment of women with varying levels of PS provider experience and time since treatment was undertaken to ensure representation of all relevant experiences. The interview questions targeted two broad areas: i) the impact of providing PS on the women’s sense of self and ii) the experience of providing a structured intervention within a research context. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Results: The following main themes emerged in the course of qualitative analysis: 1) motivations of providing PS within the research context, 2) benefits and challenges of involvement, 3) the role of individual beliefs regarding research/the intervention, and 4) the influence of study procedures and personnel on providers’ interactions with PS recipients.
Conclusions: The factors identified each impacted on the way peers delivered the intervention and the satisfaction and meaning they derived from the PS provider role. Understanding these dynamics will inform future training and support for PS providers, facilitate more effective PS programs and maximise the benefits of PS for both recipients and providers.