Effectiveness of communication skills training of nurses on the quality of life and satisfaction with healthcare professionals among newly diagnosed cancer patients: a preliminary study

Psychooncology. 2011 Dec;20(12):1285-91. doi: 10.1002/pon.1840. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


Introduction: The importance of effective communication skills to sustain the cancer patient quality of life (QOL) and their satisfaction with healthcare professionals is well documented. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of communication skills training (CST) of nurses for patient QOL and their satisfaction with healthcare professionals just after being diagnosed with cancer.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Eight nurses, who mainly provide psychological and informational support for patients soon after they were informed of their cancer diagnosis by physicians at a cancer screening center, were randomly assigned to an experimental group attending a CST program (four nurses) or to a control group (four nurses). Eighty-nine patients with gastric, colorectal, or breast cancer were supported and assessed by either group of nurses during the study period. The effectiveness for patient QOL and their satisfaction with healthcare professionals was assessed by administering the Short Form-8 Health Survey (SF-8) and a single-item VAS three times (1 week after diagnosis: T1; 1 month after diagnosis: T2; and 3 months after diagnosis: T3).

Results: Repeated measures analysis of variance showed a group-by-time significant increase of the mental aspects of SF-8 (F=3.48; P=0.03) and satisfaction with the nurse (F=3.18; p=0.04).

Conclusions: Our findings underscore the importance of CST for healthcare professionals to improve the QOL of patients as well as their satisfaction with these professionals.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Oncology Nursing / education*
  • Oncology Nursing / standards
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*