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Advancing family communication skills in oncology nursing 

Advancing family communication skills in oncology nursing
Advancing family communication skills in oncology nursing

Talia Zaider

, Shira Hichenberg

, and Lauren Latella

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date: 03 December 2020

This chapter presents a new communication skills training initiative designed to advance family-centred care in the inpatient oncology setting. Because of their consistent contact with families, oncology nurses are well-positioned to initiate and model supportive care to the family. Two formats of training are presented: (i) a single-session module for acute care nurses focuses on responding to challenging family interactions at the bedside; (ii) a comprehensive, six-month curriculum for advanced practice nurses focuses on conceptualization and intervention skills, as applied to a range of complex family situations that arise during a patient’s admission. The training presented here teaches nurses to effectively partner with families, assess support needs, facilitate collaborative problem-solving, and transition families to psychosocial resources. Both training efforts were piloted at a large, comprehensive cancer centre. Preliminary data supports the feasibility and perceived relevance of training content, as well as gains in nurses’ confidence working effectively with families.

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