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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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Qualitative approaches to clinician—patient communication

Qualitative approaches to clinician—patient communication

Chapter:
(p.695) Chapter 60 Qualitative approaches to clinician—patient communication
Source:
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
Author(s):

Felicia Roberts

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.003.0060

Patient care is not simply about message transmission, it is about a dynamic interplay of information, emotions, expertise, goals, beliefs, and so on. To study the artful management of the complexities of healthcare communication, qualitative approaches can be highly productive and can stimulate new insight: ‘how’ may be a more relevant question to begin with than ‘how much’. In oncology and palliative care, as in any medical domain, both physicians and cancer patients have concerns, though perhaps somewhat different ones, regarding preferred trajectories and outcomes of the medical visit. Physicians face the tension of maintaining the delicate balance between informative yet hopeful communication. They deftly navigate the line between recommending treatment and avoiding guarantees. This chapter reflects on the special ethical challenges facing researchers engaged in field-based studies and discusses the trade-offs between reliability and validity in qualitative research.

Keywords:   physicians, cancer patients, oncology, palliative care, qualitative research, communication, reliability, validity, ethical challenges

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