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Patient Educ Couns. 2001 Nov;45(2):101-6.

Assessment and treatment of psychosocial problems in cancer patients: an exploratory study of a course for nurses.

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Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden.


A course in psychosocial oncology for nurses was developed and evaluated within the framework of a prospective randomised study. Six nurses participated. Areas covered were basic techniques for assessment of psychosocial problems, for relieving anxiety and depression, solving problems in conjunction with treatment and disease, and improving communication. Participants met for four 3h weekly lessons. Between meetings, they met to train assessment and techniques. Follow-up discussions were held at termination and 5 months later. Participants reported that the new knowledge and skills had made them feel more confident when handling patients' psychosocial situation. However, treatment of psychological problems did not prove to be a predominant aspect of their patient work. The evaluation of the course suggests that participants improved their skills for assessment of patient problems and, therefore, felt more confident when handling psychosocial issues.

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