Be Clear on Cancer: Pharmacy students' views of communicating with cancer patients

Authors

  • Adam Todd Department of Pharmacy, Health and Well-being, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland & Wolfson Research Institute, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Queen's Campus, Durham University
  • Lyn Brierley-Jones Department of Pharmacy, Health and Well-being, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
  • Andy Husband Wolfson Research Institute, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Queen's Campus, Durham University
  • Steve Williamson Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Tyneside Hospital, Pharmacy Department
  • Inderjit Sarai Department of Pharmacy, Health and Well-being, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
  • Jonathan Ling Department of Pharmacy, Health and Well-being, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland

Keywords:

Communication, Cancer, Pharmacy, Context-Based Learning

Abstract

Background: The role of the pharmacist is changing. One example of this is the potential for pharmacists in primary care to be involved in the administration and monitoring of cancer patients receiving oral chemotherapy. However, little is known about whether pharmacists feel they have sufficient communication skills training to conduct consultations with cancer patients.

Aims: To ascertain undergraduate pharmacy students’ attitudes towards developing the communication skills required to conduct consultations with cancer patients in pharmacy practice.

Methods: Qualitative and quantitative methods were used for the study. A questionnaire focusing on the communication skills required to care for cancer patients was administered to all four year groups of an undergraduate pharmacy degree at a United Kingdom School of Pharmacy. Key emerging issues were then explored through a focus group, which were analysed using a thematic content analysis.

Results: Several themes emerged from the qualitative data in relation to communicating with cancer patients, including concern about speaking to patients with cancer.

Conclusions: Pharmacy students perceived cancer patients as being a unique patient group creating anxieties over communication. Final year pharmacy students perceive context-based learning as the most effective means of acquiring communication skills required to talk to cancer patients. 

References

Anderson, C., Bates, I., Beck, D., Brock, T.P., Futter, B., Mercer, H., Rouse, M., Whitmarsh, S., Wuliji, T., & Yonemura, A. (2009) The WHO UNESCO FIP Pharmacy Education Taskforce. Human Resources for Health, 7(45).

Bordage, G. (2009) Conceptual frameworks to illuminate and magnify. Medical Education, 43, 312-9.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77- 101.

Dornan, T., Boshuizen, H., King, N., & Scherpbier, A. (2007) Experience-based learning: a model linking the processes and outcomes of medical students' workplace learning. Medical Education, 41, 84-91.

Dornan, T., Scherpbier, A., & Boshuizen, H. (2009) Supporting medical students’ workplace learning: Experience- based learning (ExBL). The Clinical Teacher, 6, 167-71.

Fallowfield, L., & Jenkins, V. (1999)Effective communica- tion skills are the key to good cancer care. European Journal of Cancer, 35(11), 1592 – 1597.

Feldman-Stewart, D., Brundage, M.D., Tishelman, C. & SCRN Communication Team. (2005) A conceptual framework for patient-professional communication: an application to the cancer context. Psychooncology, 14, 801-9.

Hagerty, R.G., Butow, P.N., Ellis, P.A., Lobb, E.A., Pendlebury, S., Leighl, N., Goldstein, D., Lo, S.K., & Tattersall, M.H. (2004) Cancer patient preferences for communication of prognosis in the metastatic setting. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 22, 1721-30.

Liu, G., Franssen, E., Fitch, M.I., & Warner, E. (1997) Patient preferences for oral versus intravenous palliative chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 15, 110-5.

Maguire. P. (1999) Improving Communication with Cancer Patients. European Journal of Cancer, 35, 1415-22.

Medical Education England, Review of pharmacist undergraduate education and pre-registration training and proposals for reform. Modern Pharmacy Careers Programme (on-line). Available from: http://www. mee.nhs.uk/pdf/MPC_ Discussion_Paper.pdf. Accessed 7 August, 2012.

Ong, L.M., de Haes, J.C., Hoos, A.M., & Lammes, F.B. (1995) Doctor-patient communication: a review of the literature. Social Science & Medicine, 40, 903-18.

Petrie, J.L. (2011) Integration of pharmacy students within a level II trauma center. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75, 121.

RPS (2011) A Report on the Dispensing and Supply of Oral Chemotherapy and Systemic Anticancer Medicines in Primary Care, January 2011 (on-line). Available from: http:// www.rpharms.com/support-pdfs/providing-oral- chemotherapy-in-the-community.pdf. Accessed 7 August, 2012.

Shih, V., Wan, H.S., & Chan, A. (2009) Clinical predictors of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 43(3), 444-52.

Turan, S., Elcin, M., Uner, S., Odabasi, O., Sayek, I., & Senemoglu, N. (2009) The impact of clinical visits on communication skills training. Patient Education & Counseling, 77, 42 – 47.

WHO (2006) Developing pharmacy practice: A focus on patient care. World Health Organisation in collaboration with International Pharmaceutical Federation (on-line). Available from: http://www.fip. org/files/fip/publications/developingpharmacypractice/developingpharmacy practiceen.pdf. Accessed 7 August, 2012.

Published

19/05/2013

Issue

Section

Research Article