The state of the science for communication training in pediatric oncology: A systematic review


Within the field of pediatric oncology, communication skills training (CST) has been recognized as a high priority by professional and accrediting organizations. However, the effectiveness of formalized CST interventions for pediatric oncology providers remains poorly understood. We systematically searched PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and PsycInfo for original research articles assessing the effectiveness and quality of CST interventions targeting pediatric oncology clinicians. From 971 deduplicated references, eight articles representing six communication interventions were eligible for inclusion. This review summarizes the existing literature with respect to CST content, intervention methodology, targeted outcome metrics, measurement tools, short-term and sustained benefits, design biases, and availability of materials to allow for reproduction of interventions. Ultimately, studies on CST in pediatric oncology are few, heterogeneous, and lacking in standardized outcome metrics; however, synthesis of the available literature suggests feasibility and effectiveness. Increased scientific rigor is needed, and specific recommendations to advance the field are described.

Publication Title

Pediatric blood & cancer