Communication Competencies of Oncology Nurses in Malaysia


This paper reports on part of a large study to identify competencies of oncology nurses in Malaysia. It focuseson oncology nurses’ communications-related competency. As an important cancer care team member, oncologynurses need to communicate effectively with cancer patients. Literature shows that poor communication canmake patients feel anxious, uncertain and generally not satisfied with their nurses’ care. This paper deliberateson the importance of effective communication by oncology nurses in the context of a public hospital. Four focusgroup discussions were used in this study with 17 oncology/cancer care nurses from Malaysian public hospitals.The main inclusion criterion was that the nurses had to have undergone a post-basic course in oncology, or havework experience as a cancer care nurse. The findings indicated that nurses do communicate with their patients,patients’ families and doctors to provide information about the disease, cancer treatment, disease recurrence andside effects. Nurses should have good communication skills in order to build relationships as well as to providequality services to their patients. The paper concludes by recommending how oncology nursing competenciescan be improved.