Advancing interprofessional education in communication

Haley Buller*, Betty R. Ferrell, Judith A. Paice, Myra Glajchen, Trace Haythorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective The objective of this training project is to develop and host Interprofessional Communication courses to improve interdisciplinary communication in oncology care. The initial national course was held in a virtual format and included pre- and post-course participant data. The curriculum was developed with support from the National Cancer Institute. Methods A virtual two-day course was held to equip nurses, social workers, and chaplains with vital communication skills in oncology practice, so that they could return to their home institutions and teach communication skills to other healthcare professionals, with the intention of making improved communication a quality improvement goal. Fifty-two participants were selected through an application process to attend the virtual course in two-person interprofessional teams (e.g., nurse and chaplain, or social worker and nurse). The Interprofessional Communication Curriculum was based on the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care's eight domains of quality palliative care. The six online modules developed by the investigators were presented in lectures, supplemented by discussion groups, role plays, and other methods of experiential learning. Results Pre- and post-course results identified areas of communication, which are a priority for improvement by oncology clinicians. Participant goals identified specific strategies to be implemented by participants in their settings. Significance of results The need for communication training was clearly demonstrated across professions in this national training course. Participants were able to apply course content to their goals for quality improvement in cancer settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Chaplaincy
  • Communication
  • Interprofessional education
  • Palliative care nursing
  • Palliative social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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