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J Cancer Educ. 2009;24(2):154-9. doi: 10.1080/08858190902854848.

"Breaking bad news": standardized patient intervention improves communication skills for hematology-oncology fellows and advanced practice nurses.

Author information

  • 1Division of Hematology-Oncology, Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, BCM Faculty Center, 1709 Dryden Road, 6th Floor, Houston, TX 77030, USA. aeid@bcm.tmc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Breaking bad news is 1 of cancer specialists' most common and difficult duties, yet hematology-oncology fellowship programs typically offer little formal preparation for this daunting task. We designed the Breaking Bad News Standardized Patient Intervention (BBNSPI) as a standardized patient educational intervention to improve the communication skills of hematology-oncology fellows (HOFs) and advanced practice nurses (APNs) in breaking bad news to cancer patients.

METHODS:

A total of 6 HOFs and 2 APNs participated in the preintervention test and an educational session designed to improve communication skills. A total of 5 HOFs and 1 APN participated in the postintervention test 1 week later.

RESULTS:

The average test score of the participants improved from 56.6% in the preintervention test to 68.8% (P < .005) in the postintervention test. The preintervention perception survey showed that 2 of 6 subjects (33%) expected the intervention to improve their communication skills in breaking bad news compared to 5 of 6 subjects (83%) in the postintervention survey (P < .08). The long-term intervention perception survey showed that all 6 subjects (100%) thought the intervention improved their communication skills in breaking bad news to cancer patients (P < .048).

CONCLUSIONS:

BBNSPI improved HOFs' and APNs' communication skills in breaking bad news to cancer patients. The perception of the subjects about BBNSPI was positive.

PMID:
19431034
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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