Communication Competencies of Oncology Nurses in Malaysia

  • Maskor, Nor Aida (Department of Professional Development and Continuing Education, Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Krauss, Steven Eric (Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Muhamad, Mazanah (Cancer Resource and Education Center (CaRE), Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Mahmood, Nik Hasnaa Nik (Department of Human Resource Development, Razak School of Engineering and Advanced Technology Universiti Teknologi Malaysia)
  • Published : 2013.01.31


This paper reports on part of a large study to identify competencies of oncology nurses in Malaysia. It focuses on oncology nurses' communications-related competency. As an important cancer care team member, oncology nurses need to communicate effectively with cancer patients. Literature shows that poor communication can make patients feel anxious, uncertain and generally not satisfied with their nurses' care. This paper deliberates on the importance of effective communication by oncology nurses in the context of a public hospital. Four focus group 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 have work 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 and side effects. Nurses should have good communication skills in order to build relationships as well as to provide quality services to their patients. The paper concludes by recommending how oncology nursing competencies can be improved.


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