COMFORT™SM communication for oncology nurses: Program overview and preliminary evaluation of a nationwide train-the-trainer course


Objective: The COMFORT Communication Course for Oncology Nurses is a train-the-trainer program funded by the National Cancer Institute (R25) that provides nationwide communication training to improve patient-centered communication in cancer care. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the program and present an evaluation of three courses. Methods: The curriculum contains seven modules addressing palliative care communication. Pre-course survey of needs, post-course feedback, and follow-up at 6 and 12 months were used to evaluate the program. Results: To date, three courses have been presented to 269 nurses from 34 states and Washington D.C. Post-course evaluations showed high satisfaction with course design, content, and faculty. At 12 months, course participants had implemented institution-wide system changes and communication skill building. On average, each nurse trained 37 other healthcare providers. Conclusions: The COMFORT communication course provides the essential communication skills and tools oncology nurses need to provide quality care across the cancer continuum. Practice implications: Training is needed to prepare oncology nurses with the skills to provide patient-centered communication across the cancer continuum. These skills include training others in communication and implementing process improvement. The COMFORT communication train-the-trainer model is an effective approach to meet this need.

Publication Title

Patient Education and Counseling