Remote symptom support training programs for oncology nurses in Canada: An environmental scan

Dawn Stacey, Meg Carley, Jagbir Kohli, Myriam Skrutkowski, Jonathan Avery, Astride Bazile, Arlene Court, Daniel Nagel, Denise Budz


The overall aim of this study was to explore current remote symptom support training programs provided to nurses in ambulatory oncology programs across Canada, using a survey-methods environmental scan. Of 36 delivered invitations, 28 programs responded (77.8%) representing 10 provinces. Of 25 programs that offer telephone symptom support, 17 provide symptom support training, seven do not, and one did not say. Seven programs shared training materials with the investigators and elements of training included: symptom management guidelines (n=6), telephone triage process/principles (n=5), competent telephone practices (n=4), documentation (n=4), professional standards (n=3), role-play (n=3), communication skills/etiquette (n=3), and monitoring quality (n=1). Formats included: presentations (n=3), paper-based resources (n=3), or e-learning modules (n=1). No training programs were rigorously evaluated. Training in telephone nursing symptom support across oncology programs is variable. Opportunities exist to identify core competencies and evaluate if training programs enhance delivery of remote cancer symptom support.

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