Oncology professionals still lack the knowledge and skills to provide effective psychosocial care. Continuing education (CE) aimed at addressing this lack may improve the provision of psychosocial care to patients and their families.
The authors conducted a province-wide cross-sectional mail survey of oncology health care professionals [oncologists (MDs), nurses (RNs) and radiation therapists (RTs)] and assessed psychosocial orientation, self-assessed knowledge, and motivation to learn about psychosocial oncology. In addition, they sought factors that might influence professionals' willingness to attend CE programs.
In total, 241 surveys were completed and returned. Psychosocial orientation was highest in the RN subgroup. MDs rated their knowledge to deal with specific psychosocial issues higher than did RNs and RTs, while their motivation to learn more about providing psychosocial care was significantly lower. Seventy-three percent of respondents indicated that they would like CE in psychosocial oncology. Self-reported motivation to learn was the most significant factor associated with this interest.
These findings raise questions about perceived learning needs and aided in the development of an interprofessional curriculum in psychosocial oncology.