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The Swiss model 

The Swiss model
The Swiss model

Friedrich Stiefel

, Jürg Bernhard

, Gabriella Bianchi

, Lilo Dietrich

, Christoph Hürny

, Alexander Kiss

, Brigitta Wössmer

, and Céline Bourquin

Page of

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date: 15 December 2019

This chapter focuses on the Swiss model of oncology communication skills training (CST), which was initiated in 1998 and has been declared mandatory in 2005 for physicians specializing in medical oncology. It first discusses the development and implementation of this CST, its setting, and the specific objectives of the training—illustrated by examples from interviews videotaped during a CST session. Particular attention is then paid to trainers’ observations of communication difficulties of participants (e.g. under- or overstructured interviews, information not adapted to the patient’s needs) and to the specific features of the Swiss CST, namely: interdisciplinary training (working with physicians and nurses); individual insight-oriented supervision; and mandatory training. The final section of the chapter is devoted to the different scientific projects investigating the Swiss CST (e.g. communication and psychodynamic aspects of the training (clinicians’ defence mechanisms), impact of the training on working alliance, and linguistic strategies).

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