The Communication Skills Training and Research Laboratory is the first structured communication initiative at a comprehensive cancer center. It is designed to find the most effective and lasting way to train physicians and other healthcare professionals to communicate in a patient-centered and effective manner with oncology patients. While not innate to everyone, good communication skills can be taught and learned.
Housed in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, the Comskil Training Program is designed for attending physicians from a wide array of disciplines, including medical, surgical, and radiation oncology, pain and palliative care, critical care, radiology, and pediatrics, as well as graduate medical trainees. Participants come from Memorial Hospital and other medical centers nationwide and outside the US. While our curriculum has been developed for cancer care, it is readily adapted to hospice and those treating AIDS and other chronic and life-threatening diseases.
Training takes place in our dedicated state-of-the-art facility in mid-town Manhattan, which includes a classroom and six video-recording training rooms where participants hone their skills with trained actors. Participants receive take-home educational materials.
The Comskil curriculum currently consists of eight core modules:
- Breaking Bad News
- Shared Decision Making about Treatment Options
- Responding to Patient Anger
- Communicating with Patients via Interpreters
- Discussing Prognosis
- Discussing the Transition from Curative to Palliative Care
- Discussing Death, Dying and End-of-life Goals of Care
- Conducting a Family Meeting
More than 90% of clinicians who have participated in the Comskil Training
- Felt confident that they will use the skills learned in training
- Appreciated that the skills learned in training will allow them to
- provide better patient care.
- Acknowledged that the workshop prompted them to critically evaluate their own communication skills
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. This course has been designated a maximum of 15 credit hours toward the AMA Physician Recognition Award. Physicians should claim only those hours spent in the education activity.