The central aim of the group is to conduct pragmatic research in health outcomes, the results of which will enable doctors and nurses to communicate in ways that will:
- enhance their professional effectiveness and the personal satisfaction that they gain from their work
- show that they recognise the impact that diagnosis and treatment exert on the quality of patients' lives
- increase the satisfaction that patients express about their consultations
- facilitate patients' understanding about cancer and its treatment
- promote the adjustment of patients to their cancer at all stages of the disease
- increase the recruitment of patients to clinical trials of cancer therapy
This will be achieved through the identification of the communication problems experienced by healthcare professionals working within oncology, and the scientific evaluation of communication skills training interventions. The content of training interventions will be informed by and updated with data collected from other studies in our portfolio of basic psychosocial research.
Our unit is concerned with the prevention and amelioration of a wide variety of communication difficulties that occur routinely in cancer consultations. The focus of this research is not restricted to the identification of psychological distress.
The academic background of unit members is from experimental, social and health psychology rather than psychiatry or clinical psychology. Thus the theoretical and methodological orientation of the group is distinct.
Our portfolio of basic psychosocial research in oncology ensures that we have important and relevant data with which to inform the development of ameliorative interventions, training courses and further research programmes. The necessary development and validation of new psychometric tests requires access to patients, which is achieved through our involvement in multi-centre clinical trials. Furthermore this involvement provides us with an invaluable network of clinicians, nurses and others in all the major cancer centres throughout the UK and most other parts of the world. Consequently we are in a position to recruit sufficient clinicians and patients to the research studies conducted by our group and to disseminate the results from the work widely.