Please feel free to join in any of these thread discussions on Communication. We would be delighted to hear the views of all health professionals. If you are reading this please take a leap and join in with the chat and let us know about your practice and point of view. We would appreciate this as we are currently developing a course on Open and Sensitive Communication and would welcome all contributions to the forums on this subject.
Have you ever attended a course on communication?
What are the principles of sensitive communication?
How do you train your staff?
Please join in!
Would be very interested in outcome of this topic, as I am a cancer patient whose radiotherapy treatment was supervised by someone the nurses called "Dr. 30 second".
When I complained, my doctor said that he wasn't surprised, as he received many similar complaints, but "if my wife had your cancer I would choose him to supervise the radiotherapy". So I stuck with him, until sessions were over, then immediately changed to a far more understanding and helpful doctor.
However, when such a situation exists, and the nurses know this - I do feel that the head Oncology nurse should monitor those patients being treated by that doctor, and not leave us to handle the fact we can't ask questions. One of the breast care nurses found me in tears in the loo one day, as I hadn't been able to ask a question that was important to me. I received far more help from her than from the elusive oncology nurse who was supposed to be looking after me.
Communiction is so important - is there any way that patients can suggest ways that would make this easier and more productive?
I work as a District Nurse and there is no doubt that patients often find it difficult to ask their oncologist questions. Often they feel the oncologist is too busy or that they should not be asking what seems to them as impertinent questions.
Most of them find it much easier to talk to the nurses. Generally, they seem to build a relationship with one or two of the oncology nurses and come to rely on them when they want information.
We also find that they will ask us questions they fell uncomfortable asking anyone else. this can be very difficult as we are sometimes not given timely information when a patient is referred to us.
Currently, the oncology nurses are working with us to try to set up a system where oncology will refer to district nursing following their first contact with the patient. We all hope that this will allow a relationship to be built up before the patient reaches the stage of needing technichal nursing assistance at home.
Of course we are a small LGA and this might not be possible with larger hospitals and oncology units. There will be on-going education for the district nurses to make sure they are up to speed with chemo and radiotherapy etc.
We are lucky that we have very keen oncology nurses at our local treating hospitals who spend lots of time and resources training nurses in caring for cancer patients, where ever they are in the public health system.
I do-not see how we, as nurses can change the culture or working practices of the oncologists, except by requesting they give time to specific patients when there is an obvious ned. However, we can ensure we are ready to accept the role of listening and giving information when it becomes necessary. It is very easy to forget that something we do every day and that is routine for us, is in fact, frightening and confusing for the patient.
Was fascinated to read your reply, and see that the same problems happen in Australia! What a small world! Do you think Oncologists are all taught in the same way?
I actually am fairly bolshie. Will be happy to be a good girl, until someone doesn't give me what I feel I am entitled to - as a patients whose insurance company was paying a lot of money for my oncologist, got very angry that he wouldn't answer questions. Anyway, had my own back as in UK after you have finished radiotherapy they then have five years where they see you every few months, nothing to report, expect they collect a fat fee - except that I immediately transferred over to a darling, who I am quite happy is collecting fees from insurance company - as I know if I need him he will answer my questions!
I have developed a website www.after-cancer.com. and am receiving a huge amount of hits from Australia. Can't think why, but I must have been mentioned on a cancer website. It is lovely to think we are all together - even though it wasn't a nice way to start!
Best of wishes,
Many nurses (& hopefully, other health professionals) have workshops which include topics like patient education - not only what to discuss, but how to discuss these topics. We are also running various workshops thru some of our cancer councils on communication and counselling.
Some other ways of patients communicating discomfort with some cares, other than with the nursing staff, is via satisfaction surveys, and patient liaison/representatives who can help with some difficult situations. In our facility, we have staff counsellors as well as the pt representative.
Interested to read your reply. Don't know if it is same system in Australia, but patients in UK gripe that the "Team" have discussions about patients, but patients are never present.
There seems to be a discussion somewhere away from the patient, then everyone puts on their 'work' face, gathers round the bed and says "we have decided...." and you lie there thinking you might have liked to have had some input.
Hi, I am a nurse working in palliative care and feel that communication is of the utmost importance, not only in this setting but through out the whole journey of the patients disease. It was only the other day that I was reminded that although we as nurses etc. may deal with disease, death and dying on a dialy basis it is always the first time for our patients and their families. Being there to explain what is happening to the patient, or what the patient and the family may expect to encounter is often comforting. Of course some patients and families are easier to talk with than others, and sometimes some don't want to talk much, but being available to so so is very important. In these circumstances we can communicate with them by providing good and attentive care to thier loved one, which I feel is a form of communication that expresses our respect for them as individuals, and can bring comfort. In the online lecture I viewed last week on this site on Competencies, I found it very refreshing when I read the caption "eighty percent of success in life is related to attitude rather than conpetency", I feel this is very relative regarding communication, if we have an open and caring attitude towards our patients and thier families, they are more likely to feel they can chat to us regarding thier fears and concerns, one does not neccissarily require a degree in communication, just an attitude to engage in their lives.
I do like the quote about 80% of success related to attitude. Would love to make posters and stick them in my local hospitals - in London, I hasten to add!
I have just completed a very intense 3 day advanced communication skills course run by the LNR cancer network. It was an invaluable experience as i spend most of my working day talking to patients and families who are dealing with a diagnosis of lung cancer. The course made me realise that there is no right or wrong way and certainly no perfect way, to communicate this sort of information. However. i believe that there is an element of instinctiveness is all aspects of nursing and as a general rule this will help you to get it right most of the time.
Some people are just not born communicators and no amount of training will overcome this.
I had a similar experience, as a nurse I stood and listened to a dr who sounds very much like the 30second dr discussed earlier, when alone with him I said, "would you be happy if one of you colleagues communicated the way you just did with a member of your family, this poor dr was very embarrassed and did reflect on the situation with me and apologised to the pt. Sometimes people get into a habit and it takes someone on the outside to point it out. Caroline