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Transfer of communication skills to the workplace: Impact of a 38-hour communication skills training program designed for radiotherapy teams
Purpose This study assessed the efficacy of a 38-hour communication skills training program designed to train a multidisciplinary radiotherapy team. Methods Four radiotherapy teams were randomly assigned to a training program or a waiting list. Assessments were scheduled at baseline and after training for the training group and at baseline and 4 months later for the waiting list group. Assessments included an audio recording of a radiotherapy planning session to assess team members’ communication skills and expression of concerns of patients with breast cancer (analyzed with content analysis software) and an adapted European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer satisfaction with care questionnaire completed by patients at the end of radiotherapy. Results Two hundred thirty-seven radiotherapy planning sessions were recorded. Compared with members of the untrained teams, members of the trained teams acquired, over time, more assessment skills (P = .003) and more supportive skills (P = .050) and provided more setting information (P = .010). Over time, patients interacting with members of the trained teams asked more open questions (P = .022), expressed more emotional words (P = .025), and exhibited a higher satisfaction level regarding nurses’ interventions (P = .028). Conclusion The 38-hour training program facilitated transfer of team member learned communication skills to the clinical practice and improved patients’ satisfaction with care.