Development and preliminary evaluation of a communication skills training programme for hospital physicians by a specialized palliative care service: the ‘Teach to Talk’ programme

S. Tanzi, L. De Panfilis, M. Costantini, G. Artioli, S. Alquati, S. Di Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: There is widespread agreement about the importance of communication skills training (CST) for healthcare professionals caring for cancer patients. Communication can be effectively learned and improved through specific CST. Existing CSTs have some limitations with regard to transferring the learning to the workplace. The aim of the study is developing, piloting, and preliminarily assessing a CST programme for hospital physicians caring for advanced cancer patients to improve communication competences. Methods: This is a Phase 0-I study that follows the Medical Research Council framework; this paper describes the following sections: a literature review on CST, the development of the Teach to Talk training programme (TtT), the development of a procedure for assessing the quality of the implementation process and assessing the feasibility of the implementation process, and the pilot programme. The study was performed at a 900-bed public hospital. The programme was implemented by the Specialized Palliative Care Service. The programme was proposed to 19 physicians from 2 departments. Results: The different components of the training course were identified, and a set of quality indicators was developed. The TtT programme was implemented; all the physicians attended the lesson, videos, and role-playing sessions. Only 25% of the physicians participated in the bedside training. It was more challenging to involve Haematology physicians in the programme. Conclusions: The programme was completed as established for one of the two departments in which it was piloted. Thus, in spite of the good feedback from the trainees, a re-piloting of a different training program will be developed, considering in particular the bed side component. The program should be tailored on specific communication attitude and believes, probably different between different specialties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number363
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

Keywords

  • Communication training
  • Complex intervention
  • Oncology
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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