Is doctors’ ability to identify cancer patients’ worry and wish for information related to doctors’ self-efficacy with regard to communicating about difficult matters?

Authors

  • C. FRÖJD rn , msc , phd student ,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, University of Uppsala, Uppsala
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  • L. VON ESSEN phd , professor

    1. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
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Camilla Fröjd, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, University of Uppsala, Uppsala Science Park, S-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden (e-mail: camilla.frojd@pubcare.uu.se).

Abstract

The aims were to investigate whether: (A) doctors’ ability to identify patients’ worry about prognosis/wish for information about disease and treatment is related to doctors’ self-efficacy with regard to communicating about difficult matters and patients’ satisfaction with a consultation/hope to live a good life in spite of the disease; and (B) patients and doctors agree on how much worry/wish for information a patient experiences/wishes. Sixty-nine patients with carcinoid and 11 doctors participated. Ability to identify worry/wish for information was estimated by posing questions to doctors/patients concerning how much worry/information a patient experienced/wished during a consultation. Doctors’ self-efficacy was measured by nine questions, patients’ satisfaction and hope by two questions. When doctors show good ability to identify wish for information, they report higher self-efficacy (t = 3.5, d.f. = 67, P < 0.001) than when they show less good ability. Patients finding the consultation very satisfying meet doctors reporting higher self-efficacy than patients finding the consultation satisfying (t = 2.26, d.f. = 65, P < 0.05). Doctors fail to identify patients who report less worry/wish more information than the average patient. The findings underscore the importance of further enhancing doctors’ self-efficacy with regard to communicating about difficult matters and ability to identify patients who are less worried/wish more information than the average patient.

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