Training the facilitators for communication skills training of cancer care professionals in Taiwan (#279)
Background: The Taiwan Psycho-Oncology Society (TPOS) is establishing a communication skills training (CST) course for professionals in cancer care. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the training process of facilitators for the CST.
Method: The training course was developed based on the SHARE model, which was established by the Japanese Psycho-Oncology Society (JPOS). Twenty-two grand and semi-grand facilitators were the“first generation" certified trainers after they had completed at least 50 hours of training in teaching the SHARE model in 2010. Mental health and cancer care professionals were selected and invited to attend a 6-hour workshop of teaching techniques, after they had completed 2-day-long Training-the- Trainer courses of the CST (CST-TTT). Subsequently, they assisted the certified facilitators in the following courses of CST-TTT as interns. Candidates who met a strict set of criteria in their performance as facilitator interns were qualified as facilitators, who can teach independently in the future. A checklist including 15 items was used as the tool to assess the candidates’performances. All training activities took place on weekends.
Results: From the 145 professionals (male 77, female 68) who had completed at least one course of CST-TTT, sixty-one (male 35, female 26) were invited to attend further training as interns. Among them, 34 (male 17, female 17) participated in the workshops of teaching techniques and 21 (male 12, female 9) became qualified facilitators. These successful candidates consisted of 4 psychiatrists, 4 medical oncologists, 2 gynecologists, one radiation oncologist, 2 hospice physicians, 4 nurses, 3 psychologists and one social worker. The average duration of experiences in their respective professions was 13 years (range: 3 to 30 years). Four of the 21 trainees had to practice their internship twice in order to be qualified. Compared with the successful trainees, those who failed did not do well in the tasks of giving introductory lecture, controlling training procedures, taking notes of interview processes and using practical examples in giving feedback.
Discussion: The current 30-hour training course for new facilitators is feasible. But compared with the 22“first generation” facilitators, newly qualified facilitators spent less time in their training and practice as facilitators. More studies are necessary to assess their competence. As the Health Promotion Bureau of the Taiwanese Health Department supports the TPOS to hold more CST courses nation-wide in 2012 and beyond, more competent facilitators are urgently needed.
Conclusion: The TPOS is able to train facilitators for CST based on the SHARE model. The task to balance the quality and quantity requirements for the training is an important challenge for the TPOS.