Training Oncology and Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialists in Psychological Skills

Evaluation of a Pilot Study

Jane E. Clark, Susan Aitken, Nina Watson, Joanne McVey, Jan Helbert, Anita Wraith, Vanessa Taylor, Sarah Catesby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: National guidelines in the United Kingdom recommend training Clinical Nurse Specialists in psychological skills to improve the assessment and intervention with psychological problems experienced by people with a cancer diagnosis (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2004). This pilot study evaluated a three-day training program combined with supervision sessions from Clinical Psychologists that focused on developing skills in psychological assessment and intervention for common problems experienced by people with cancer. Methods: Questionnaires were developed to measure participants' levels of confidence in 15 competencies of psychological skills. Participants completed these prior to the program and on completion of the program. Summative evaluation was undertaken and results were compared. In addition, a focus group interview provided qualitative data of participants' experiences of the structure, process, and outcomes of the program. Results: Following the program, participants rated their confidence in psychological assessment and skills associated with providing psychological support as having increased in all areas. This included improved knowledge of psychological theories, skills in assessment and intervention and accessing and using supervision appropriately. The largest increase was in providing psycho-education to support the coping strategies of patients and carers. Thematic analysis of interview data identified two main themes including learning experiences and program enhancements. The significance of the clinical supervision sessions as key learning opportunities, achieved through the development of a community of practice, emerged. Significance of results: Although this pilot study has limitations, the results suggest that a combined teaching and supervision program is effective in improving Clinical Nurse Specialists' confidence level in specific psychological skills. Participants' experiences highlighted suggestions for refinement and development of the program. Opportunities for further research and developments in this area are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Nurse Clinicians
Palliative Care
Psychology
Learning
Interviews
Psychological Theory
Education
Program Development
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Focus Groups
Caregivers
Neoplasms
Teaching
Guidelines

Cite this

Clark, Jane E. ; Aitken, Susan ; Watson, Nina ; McVey, Joanne ; Helbert, Jan ; Wraith, Anita ; Taylor, Vanessa ; Catesby, Sarah. / Training Oncology and Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialists in Psychological Skills : Evaluation of a Pilot Study . In: Palliative and Supportive Care. 2013 ; Vol. 13, No. 3. pp. 537-542.
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Training Oncology and Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialists in Psychological Skills : Evaluation of a Pilot Study . / Clark, Jane E.; Aitken, Susan; Watson, Nina; McVey, Joanne; Helbert, Jan; Wraith, Anita; Taylor, Vanessa; Catesby, Sarah.

In: Palliative and Supportive Care, Vol. 13, No. 3, 13.06.2013, p. 537-542.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Clark, Jane E.

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AU - Watson, Nina

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AU - Catesby, Sarah

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AB - Objective: National guidelines in the United Kingdom recommend training Clinical Nurse Specialists in psychological skills to improve the assessment and intervention with psychological problems experienced by people with a cancer diagnosis (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2004). This pilot study evaluated a three-day training program combined with supervision sessions from Clinical Psychologists that focused on developing skills in psychological assessment and intervention for common problems experienced by people with cancer. Methods: Questionnaires were developed to measure participants' levels of confidence in 15 competencies of psychological skills. Participants completed these prior to the program and on completion of the program. Summative evaluation was undertaken and results were compared. In addition, a focus group interview provided qualitative data of participants' experiences of the structure, process, and outcomes of the program. Results: Following the program, participants rated their confidence in psychological assessment and skills associated with providing psychological support as having increased in all areas. This included improved knowledge of psychological theories, skills in assessment and intervention and accessing and using supervision appropriately. The largest increase was in providing psycho-education to support the coping strategies of patients and carers. Thematic analysis of interview data identified two main themes including learning experiences and program enhancements. The significance of the clinical supervision sessions as key learning opportunities, achieved through the development of a community of practice, emerged. Significance of results: Although this pilot study has limitations, the results suggest that a combined teaching and supervision program is effective in improving Clinical Nurse Specialists' confidence level in specific psychological skills. Participants' experiences highlighted suggestions for refinement and development of the program. Opportunities for further research and developments in this area are discussed.

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