Clinical Pathway for Thyroid Cancer Improves Nurse Satisfaction, Reduces Length of Stay


A recent study analyzed the effects of implementing a clinical pathway for thyroid cancer in a hospital setting.

The study was published in the Journal of the Sciences and Specialties of the Head and Neck (online April 10, 2018; doi:10.1002/hed.25175).

Clinical pathways are believed to be a tool for helping improve organizational efficiency and maximize patient outcomes, all while reducing costs. However, limited research exists as to whether a clinical pathway can be effective in a thyroid cancer program.

Hyungju Kwon, MD, MS, breast and thyroid cancer center, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine (Seoul, Korea), and colleagues conducted a study aimed at providing clarity to this research area. The study subjects included 216 patients who were managed after clinical pathway implementation. Outcomes (ie, length of stay in the hospital, cost per patient, and nurse satisfaction) for patients in the clinical pathway group were compared with those in a control group (n = 145).

Results of the analysis showed that the mean length of stay was 0.8 days shorter for patients in the clinical pathway group compared with patients in the control group (2.9 vs 3.7 days, respectively; P = .023). Additionally, cost per patient was lower in the clinical pathway group than in the control group (United States dollars, $3943 vs $4636;  .001).


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Dr Kwon and colleagues also reported that nurse overall satisfaction scores improved from 71.6% before implementation to 82.% after implementation of the clinical pathway. Job characteristics scores increased from 61.1% to 75.0% as well.

“Implementation of a clinical pathway for thyroid cancer can improve nurses’ satisfaction with reduction of hospital stay and costs,” Dr Kwon and colleagues concluded.—Zachary Bessette