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Clinical Oncology Nurse Best Practices: Palliative Care and End-of-Life Conversations.

BACKGROUND: Clinical oncology nurses (CONs) support and guide patients and caregivers by encouraging open dialogue and using effective communication skills. Palliative care (PC) and preparing for the end of life require that CONs apply experienced communication skills that are focused, nuanced, and helpful.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this article is to review communication methods and competencies, which can contribute to a best practices foundation for PC-focused conversations with patients and caregivers.

METHODS: Expert CONs provided case studies and responded to clinical scenarios, which illustrated and highlighted communication competencies as applied to PC-focused conversations.

FINDINGS: To establish communication competencies applied during PC-focused conversations with patients and caregivers, CONs can develop, enhance, and apply timely and effective communication skills in clinical oncology practice. To build a foundation for PC-focused communication competencies, nurses can access PC and communication skill resources, including mentoring by expert interprofessional practitioners from PC teams.

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