Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 349–350 | Cite as

Learning how to communicate in cancer settings

  • Lesley FallowfieldEmail author

Communicating with patients is a core clinical skill but one in which few healthcare professionals have received anything like enough training to help them do this effectively [1]. Although things have improved in terms of the numbers of medical schools offering more formal training in this crucial skill, communication remains a somewhat small part of the curriculum, and methods used to teach it are not always appropriate. The old ‘watch one, do one, teach one’ method of medical and nursing education is less common, but most healthcare professionals rely on observation of others as their primary source of information about how to communicate. This apprenticeship model has served some people well in the past, but left others dismally ill-equipped to cope with the communication demands of their job to the detriment of their patients and to themselves. Research has shown that stress and burnout is common in those who recognise that their communication skills are poor [2]. So how can we...


Healthcare Professional Communication Skill Cancer Setting Communication Skill Training Therapeutic Intent 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Research UK Psychosocial Oncology Group, Brighton & Sussex Medical SchoolUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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