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J Health Soc Policy. 1991;3(2):49-69.

Educating allied health professionals to provide care for cancer patients and their families.

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  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cheltenham, PA 19012.


From 1985 to 1988, a state-wide program of cancer education was offered to community-based allied health professionals (AHPs) at five different program sites in Pennsylvania. During this three-year period, 512 social workers, clergy, dieticians, physical therapists and others received training to increase their knowledge about cancer and counseling, improve their supportive attitude regarding cancer patients and families, and decrease stress related to their work with this population. Overall, the Program was successful in reaching AHPs working with cancer clients who had little formal training in the cancer field. At the beginning of training, it was observed that AHPs with initially higher levels of education and more years of work experience with cancer patients had higher levels of counseling knowledge. Those who were women, worked in hospitals, or had worked with cancer patients longer exhibited higher levels of cancer knowledge. Participants who were women and who had more education had reported lower levels of job stress. Among those AHPs who completed the training courses, cancer knowledge increased by 14 percent. In addition, knowledge related to counseling cancer patients and their families improved by 11 percentage points. Perceived job stress among the AHPs also declined by 10 percent. Finally, participant supportive attitude concerning cancer clients improved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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