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Educational Needs of Health Professionals Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer

Journal title
Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology
Publication year
Bradford, N. K.; Greenslade, R.; Edwards, R. M.; Orford, R.; Roach, J.; Henney, R.

BACKGROUND: Young people with cancer have distinct clinical and psychosocial needs during and after cancer treatment. However, as adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer is rare, and only recently recognized as specialty, health professionals may not have the skills, competence, and confidence to meet the needs of the young patient with cancer. The aim of this study was to identify the learning needs of health professionals providing cancer care to adolescents and young adults before and following the introduction of a state-wide AYA cancer education program. METHODS: A survey of educational needs of health professionals was undertaken in 2013 at the commencement of the Queensland Youth Cancer Service. The survey was used to develop the education program of the service. The education program was delivered across the state in a variety of formats, covering a range of topics throughout 2013-2016. The second survey was completed in 2017. Results were compared to identify if educational needs or the self-rated confidence of health professionals in regard to AYA cancer care had changed over time. RESULTS: One hundred twenty-two participants completed the first survey and 73 completed the second. The most prominent educational needs in 2013 were palliative care and biomedical topics such as understanding AYA growth and development as well as specific AYA cancers and treatment. The second survey identified that palliative care education remained important; however, there was a shift toward health professionals request for more psychosocial and practical education on topics including fertility, sexuality, and managing late effects. CONCLUSION: To provide high-quality healthcare to AYAs with cancer, health professionals require ongoing opportunities for education and training.

Research abstracts