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Doyon and interdisciplinary team publish on communication in cancer care

School of Nursing Assistant Professor Kate Doyon and a team of interdisciplinary researchers from across the nation recently published an article on the impact of incorporating evidence-based communication principles into routine cancer care.

Headshot of professor Kate Doyon smiling
Doyon teaches graduate courses in the School of Nursing.

Their project aimed to help clinicians communicate effectively in challenging situations with cancer patients, such as delivering serious news. The team developed composite cases – fictional patient cases created from a variety of real patient experiences – to guide clinicians through potential communication situations.

The proposed responses are developed from evidence-based practices and strategies, which the team concluded can improve experiences for both patients and caregivers.

Doyon contributed her communication expertise to the project, collaborating with Kristin LeVoy, an assistant professor of nursing at Indiana University. They developed a diagram – known as the Communication Blueprint Traffic Circle – as a visual demonstration of the qualities of effective communication that are repeatable, adaptable and widely applicable in various situations.

“Our hope is that the publication will resonate with clinicians to give them resources to improve communication to ultimately provide better outcomes for oncology patients,” Doyon said.

“Palliative care is best delivered through an interdisciplinary approach, so it is a natural progression to have interdisciplinary collaboration in research and dissemination,” she said. “As a nurse, I learn from my interdisciplinary colleagues in a variety of ways, including how they approach problem solving and even what they anticipate is a problem.”

The interdisciplinary research team represented universities and organizations across the nation, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, City Of Hope National Medical Center, McGill University, Oregon Health and Science University and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Their article can be found in the Supportive Care in Cancer journal and was featured online by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Library.