Victorian Cancer Clinicians Communication Program

A padlockResources for facilitators A padlockResources for participants

Communication skills programs

Health professionals are often required to deliver distressing news or discuss challenging topics such as death and dying. These conversations can be stressful for everyone involved. We know that health professionals who regularly have these kinds of conversations without professional training are at an increased risk of burnout. Evidence also tells us that psychological distress can impede patients’ understanding and health behaviours. Our training programs can enhance your communication skills and improve your resilience, enabling you to discuss difficult cancer-related issues more effectively with patients, their families and friends.

In our training, simulated patients (actors) are used in experiential roleplay scenarios. you’ll be able to practise and receive feedback on their skills in a safe learning environment. This best practice approach aligns with evidence about improving skills and effecting behavioural change.

Courses include:

  • Eliciting and responding to emotional cues (foundation course)
  • Breaking bad news
  • Discussing the transition to palliative care
  • Discussing sexuality and cancer
  • Discussing death and dying

Training takes place at health organisations across Victoria, and each course runs for approximately four hours.


Upcoming courses:

To be linked in with any programs running in your area, please contact us.


Video: Discussing cancer is a difficult task radiation therapists face daily. Actors from
Cancer Council help students at RMIT practice how to handle these cases.