Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1951–1960 | Cite as

Evaluation of an online communication skills training programme for oncology nurses working with patients from minority backgrounds

  • Rajneesh KaurEmail author
  • Bettina Meiser
  • Elvira Zilliacus
  • W. K. Tim Wong
  • Lisa Woodland
  • Kaaren Watts
  • Sarah Tomkins
  • David Kissane
  • Afaf Girgis
  • Phyllis Butow
  • Sandra Hale
  • Astrid Perry
  • Sanchia K. Aranda
  • Tim Shaw
  • Helen Tebble
  • Christie Norris
  • David Goldstein
Original Article



This study aimed to develop and assess the feasibility of an online communication skills training intervention to increase cultural competence amongst oncology nurses working with individuals from minority backgrounds.


The intervention provided examples of communication strategies using vignette-based, professionally produced videos, developed through an iterative process with input from a large multidisciplinary team. Fifty-three oncology nurses completed all three questionnaires at baseline, within 2 weeks and then 3 months after accessing the programme.


The online intervention was well received by the majority of participants, and was endorsed as clearly presented, informative, relevant and useful by more than 90% of participants. Eighty-seven percent of participants reported increased confidence in communicating with patients via an interpreter, and 93% agreed that skills they gained would be useful in providing better patient care. Participants reported significant improvements in practice while interacting with people with limited English proficiency 2 weeks and 3 months after accessing the website (X2 = 13.66, P < 0.001).


This online communication training programme can now be tested for its utility in improving patient care for oncology nurses working with patients from minority backgrounds.


Oncology Communication skills Online training Minority backgrounds Oncology nurses 



We are thankful to all participants for giving their time to complete the evaluation. The training programme for healthcare professionals, Effective Cultural Communication in Oncology (ECCO)—A training programme for oncology health professionals, was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, Cancer Institute NSW and Multicultural Health Services (South Eastern Sydney Local Health District) in conjunction with UNSW Australia, the University of Sydney, Monash University and Prince of Wales Hospital. Bettina Meiser is supported by a Senior Research Fellowship Level B (ID 1078523) from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, and Afaf Girgis by Cancer Institute NSW grants.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Medical and Community Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel.

Conflict of interest

Bettina Meiser has a remunerated consultant role with the company Astrazeneca with respect to a study unrelated to this article. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

520_2018_4507_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajneesh Kaur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bettina Meiser
    • 1
  • Elvira Zilliacus
    • 1
  • W. K. Tim Wong
    • 2
  • Lisa Woodland
    • 3
  • Kaaren Watts
    • 1
  • Sarah Tomkins
    • 4
  • David Kissane
    • 5
  • Afaf Girgis
    • 6
  • Phyllis Butow
    • 7
  • Sandra Hale
    • 8
  • Astrid Perry
    • 9
  • Sanchia K. Aranda
    • 10
  • Tim Shaw
    • 11
  • Helen Tebble
    • 12
  • Christie Norris
    • 13
  • David Goldstein
    • 13
  1. 1.Psychosocial Research Group, Prince of Wales Clinical SchoolThe University of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social SciencesThe University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW)SydneyAustralia
  3. 3.South Eastern Sydney Local Health DistrictSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Cancer Institute NSWSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash HealthMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical SchoolUniversity of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia
  7. 7.Psycho-Oncology Co-Operative Research Group, Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-Based Decision-MakingThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  8. 8.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesUniversity of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia
  9. 9.Multicultural Health ServiceSouth Eastern Sydney Local Health DistrictSydneyAustralia
  10. 10.Cancer Council AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  11. 11.Charles Perkins Centre, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  12. 12.School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and LinguisticsMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  13. 13.Prince of Wales Clinical School and Nelune Cancer CentrePrince of Wales HospitalSydneyAustralia

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