"What am I going to say here?" The experiences of doctors and nurses communicating with patients in a cancer unit

McClean, Margaret, Cleland, Jennifer A., Worrell, Marcia and Vögele, Claus (2011) "What am I going to say here?" The experiences of doctors and nurses communicating with patients in a cancer unit. Frontiers in Psychology, 2. p. 339. ISSN 1664-1078

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This paper describes a study investigating the provider–patient communication perceptions, experiences, needs, and strategies of doctors and nurses working together in a UK cancer setting. This was a qualitative study using individual interviews and focus group discussions. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to underpin data collection and analysis. Twenty-six staff participated in the project (18 nurses and 8 doctors). Both professional groups identified an inherent emotional strain in their daily interactions with patients. The strategies they adopted to reduce this strain fell into two main categories: (1) Handling or managing the patient to keep negative emotion at bay; and (2) Managing self to keep negative emotion at bay. These strategies allowed staff to maintain a sense of control in an emotionally stressful environment. Most believed that their communication skills were sufficient. In conclusion, communicating with and caring for cancer patients causes considerable psychosocial burden for doctors and nurses. Managing this burden influences their communication with patients. Without recognition of the need for staff to protect their own emotional well-being, communication skills training programs, emphasized in current UK cancer care guidelines, may have little impact on practice.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00339
Additional Information: © 2011 McLean, Cleland, Worrell and Vögele. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.
Keywords: cancer – communication, physician and patient, nurse and patient, oncology, stress (psychology), IPA
Subjects: Medicine and health > Clinical medicine > Clinical care
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine
Medicine and health
Depositing User: Marcia Worrell
Date Deposited: 04 May 2017 15:53
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:52
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/3298


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