AIMS: A recent trial demonstrated that a brief guided self-help intervention reduces anxiety in palliative patients. This study investigated whether training palliative nurses to deliver a guided self-help intervention would improve their routine management of psychological distress. DESIGN: A randomized controlled cluster trial compared a team of nurses who attended training (n=5) with a team allocated to a no-training control condition (n=5) on self-reported behaviour and confidence in addressing psychological distress. Ratings of patient psychological distress at routine clinical assessments were also examined pre- and post-training to assess the impact of training on patient distress. RESULTS: As predicted, patients cared for by the trained team demonstrated a significantly greater reduction in distress post-training than patients cared for by the untrained team. However, there was no significant difference in self-reported behaviour and confidence. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that brief workshop-based training improves clinical outcomes on psychological distress and may be a means to increase the accessibility of effective psychological interventions in palliative care.