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Psychooncology. 2008 Mar;17(3):209-18.

Increasing oncologists' skills in eliciting and responding to emotional cues: evaluation of a communication skills training program.

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  • 1Medical Psychology Research Unit, School of Psychology, Brenan/McCallum Building, [A18], University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia. phyllisb@psych.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Psychological morbidity in cancer patients is common, but often undetected and untreated. We developed a communication skills training (CST) program targeting this issue, and evaluated its impact on doctor behaviour.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Thirty of 35 oncologists from six teaching hospitals in six Australian cities, participated. The CST was a 1.5-day intensive face-to-face workshop incorporating presentation of principles, a DVD modelling ideal behaviour and role-play practice, followed by four 1.5 h monthly video-conferences incorporating role-play of doctor-generated scenarios. Doctors were randomized to receive the CST or not. Simulated patient interviews were videotaped and coded at baseline, after CST and 6 months later. Doctors completed questionnaires assessing stress and burnout at the same time points.

RESULTS:

Doctors in the intervention group displayed more creating environment and fewer blocking behaviours at both follow-ups; however, these differences did not reach statistical significance. Intervention doctors valued the training highly, but did not report substantial reductions in stress and burnout.

CONCLUSIONS:

This short training programme demonstrated a positive effect on aspects of doctor behaviour. Video-conferencing after a short training course may be an effective strategy for delivering CST.

(c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

PMID:
17575560
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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