A general overview of the cancer education needs of non-specialist staff


Carol Wood Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St George’s Hospital Medical School, St George’s Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.


The aim of this study was to identify the cancer education needs of non-specialist staff. A qualitative design was used involving focus groups, individual and paired interviews, focusing on specialist staff, non-specialist staff and patients. Six key areas were identified where staff indicated a need for education and training. These included: (1) an overview of cancer, what it is and how it effects patients; (2) treatments and side-effects; (3) communication skills; (4) physical and practical issues; (5) care organisation, referral routes and staff roles; and (6) death and dying issues. Similarities in the views of specialists and non-specialist staff of all disciplines indicated a workforce who would benefit from support and training in cancer issues. This is important if we are to provide safe and optimal care to patients with cancer at all stages of the disease trajectory.