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Clinician-Patient Communication: Evidence-Based Recommendations to Guide Practice in Cancer

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Clinician Patient Communication Evidence-Based Recommendations to Guide Practice in Cancer
15.03.2021
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Introduction

It has been recognized in the medical community that through scientific research, patient-centered communication can enhance cancer control and prevention by maximizing the benefit of medical discoveries in its treatment. According to Levit, Balogh, Nass, and Ganz (2014), clinician-patient communication in cancer care has proven to be beneficial, especially considering the upcoming era of personalized medicine. While the clinician-patient communication research traditionally focuses on such outcomes as patient satisfaction, adjustment, and comprehension, it also has an impact on health behaviors and disease outcomes.

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Description of Article

Clinician-Patient Communication: Evidence-Based Recommendations to Guide Practice in Cancer is an article written by several authors from the interdisciplinary team in the health and medical fields. The interdisciplinary team united to devise recommendations for better cancer care through effective communication between patients and the cancer health care providers. The authors argue that effective communication between clinicians and patients could positively affect patient outcomes, especially those associated with distress at the crucial points of cancer care (Rodin et al., 2009). The article conducted a systematic literature review and formulated evidence-based recommendations in order to guide the communication processes in cancer care. In the end, the authors reached the conclusion that general patient and clinician approaches are supported by the patients, even though such communication exhibits cultural and individual variability.

Patient-centered communications are crucial in determining health-enhancing lifestyles that can reduce the risks of cancer. Such communications have an impact on the likelihood of an individual with the risk of acquiring cancer searching for and engaging in such practices as screening and pharmacotherapies, all of which can effectively blend with a healthy lifestyle and appropriate behavioral changes. Understanding the ways of optimizing the communication process between the health care delivery sector and the patients is a vital goal for decreasing the weight of the cancer burden (Levit, Balogh, Nass & Ganz, 2014). In several cases, patients experience considerable emotional distress, especially when faced with a probable cancer diagnosis, which results in feelings of uncertainty about the future. Such patients are forced to deal with intricate medical information and as a result, make difficult treatment decisions. They usually hope to get treatment within a health care facility that would help them create an environment of focus and unfailing support.

Therefore, to ease the delivery of patient-centered care to cancer patients, the article identifies monitoring, assessment, and improvement of clinician-patient communication as the main research priority (Rodin et al., 2009). Furthermore, cancer care has some unique elements that might have an effect on communication namely, its multiple treatment modalities and the possible change of health care team over time. Such elements have made clinician-patient communication critical in the cancer care setting since they help the patients and their families receive bad news, understand complex information, handle the emotional force of the illness, and deal with the uncertainty.

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The Presentation

The presentation focused on effective communication in healthcare settings. It required the patient and the clinician to have a sufficient understanding of each other’s perspectives and of the purpose of the interface, as well as of the health condition. The presentation included various communication skills that a clinician should have at specific levels of the development of the disease and of the treatment trajectory (Rodin et al., 2009). The authors argue that the general interaction skills that clinicians and the treatment team should possess in order to benefit their patients include being able to improve their treatment compliance, obtain satisfaction from caring for the patients, and focus on various aspects of psychosocial adjustment. The discussion recommended the provision of supportive communication while adhering to the stated patient preferences during the exchange of information and decision-making. Additionally, the clinician is expected to always use the recommended approach to communication, especially when relaying bad news to the patient for example, about the recurrence, metastases, or when revealing the fact that the patient has cancer (Rodin et al., 2009). The presentation also focused on the methods and the manner of discussing prognosis, as well as on the means of communicating with patients to prepare them for medical procedures and discussing the treatment options.

This presentation was received in an ambivalent way in my clinical setting since my colleagues had different ideas and opinions about it. Some of them agreed with the presentation and voiced the notion that effective communication with the patient also depends on the behavioral and perceptual skills of the clinician, and that apart from the mentioned characteristics, they should behave in a motivational manner. For instance, some had the idea that maintaining eye contact with the patient, as well as being non-verbally attentive, is important when communicating with them. Others had the opinion that using supportive communication is the best for patients with cancer since most of them need reassurance and encouragement. Simultaneously, others argued that it is the individual’s observation skills that determine effective clinician-patient communication in order to guide cancer practice. Still, according to Levit, Balogh, Nass, and Ganz (2014), a style of communication can emerge not only from the training but also from socialization. A repetitive experience with a specific kind of patient can enable the clinicians to communicate effectively with them (Levit, Balogh, Nass & Ganz, 2014). Therefore, while the majority of my colleagues received the presentation openly and with enthusiasm, some also offered additional ideas and opinions that can be regarded as valuable to the presentation.

Clinical Application

Patient-centered communication is important in nursing care since the nurses interact with the patients more frequently than other medical providers. The discussed article can enhance patient outcomes in my setting by improving the communication skills of nurses and allowing them to learn ways of becoming effective communicators to the patients. Additionally, through better communication skills, nurses might be able to form strong relationships with the patients and their families by building trust and respect, as well as participating in the family involvement (Levit, Balogh, Nass & Ganz, 2014). These skills also foster a validation of emotions where a nurse or clinician might feel empathy for the patient and do everything in their power to help reduce the patient’s suffering. Furthermore, an improved clinician-patient communication fosters improved adherence to the guidelines, self-care, and better health habits, which might reduce readmissions of cancer patients. The article contributes largely to my clinical setting and provides the nursing staff with improved nursing practices. The nurses will be able to care for their patients in a better way by communicating with them efficiently at the different stages of the diagnosis. Hence, the article applies positively to the nursing field and significantly contributes to improving patient outcomes.

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Conclusion

Patient-clinician communication is a crucial aspect that can make a considerable difference in a situation, especially if conducted in the most effective ways. The process of efficient communication can help both parties understand and align their perspectives on the health of the patient since effective communication requires coordination, cooperation, negotiation, as well as reconciliation for the achievement of the appropriate treatment.

The article by Rodin and his colleagues thoroughly examines the importance of clinician-patient communication, and the fact that the authors are from different disciplines in the medical field shows that they all agree about the ability of clinician-patient communication to guide practice in cancer. The authors find patient-centered communication to be an elemental aspect of cancer care since it has significant effects on the therapeutic relationship, treatment, decision-making, and well-being of the patients. Hence, effective clinician-patient communication can be beneficial in cancer care for the patient, the healthcare provider, and the entire society.

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