Communication training: Needs among oncology nurses across the cancer continuum


BACKGROUND: Oncology nurses are responsible for communication-aimed prognosis, patient education about cancer care and treatment, survivorship, and care coordination. Communication difficulties and uncomfortable communication topics put nurses at risk for compassion fatigue. OBJECTIVES: Supporting nurse communication skills requires institutional policies and structures to foster patient-centered communication. This study reports on communication training needs for oncology nurses to inform future development of communication curricula and institutional training. METHODS: A national survey of oncology nurse teams (N = 355) attending one of four communication training courses was used. Surveys were used to evaluate institutions’ current patientcentered communication practices and to ascertain institutional communication training needs. FINDINGS: Nurses’ role in communicating prognosis remains unclear, and training is needed for discussing survivorship. Curriculum development should be congruent with institutionally defined roles for nurse communication.

Publication Title

Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing