Investigation of the difficulties experienced by pharmacists in Japan when communicating with cancer patients

Sachiyo Kameda, Yoshihisa Kitamura, Yasuyuki Masaoka, Minami Fujimoto, Soichiro Ushio, Toshiaki Sendo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

What is known and objective: Recently, opportunities for pharmacists to have face-to-face conversations with cancer patients have increased in Japan. The aim of this study was to investigate the difficulties experienced by Japanese pharmacists when communicating with cancer patients. Methods: We interviewed 7 pharmacists at Okayama University Hospital (Japan), using the semi-structured interview method. The obtained data were qualitatively analysed. A questionnaire was also filled out by 50 Japanese pharmacists to determine the difficulties they faced when communicating with cancer patients. Results and discussion: The difficulties experienced by pharmacists when communicating with cancer patients were classified into the following three domains: (a) coping with patients’ negative emotions, (b) questions beyond the scope of pharmacists’ expertise and (3) how to manage patients and their families. Factor analysis indicated that the main difficulties pharmacists experienced were coping with patients’ negative emotions and questions that were beyond the scope of their expertise. However, pharmacists were unlikely to experience difficulties in communicating additional information regarding anticancer drugs. Hospital pharmacists in Japan had some difficulties in communicating with cancer patients. In particular, many pharmacists felt that they could not sufficiently manage patients’ negative emotions and answer questions beyond the scope of their expertise, such as questions about life expectancy or prognosis. What is new and conclusions: The current study showed that pharmacists experienced three types of difficulties when communicating with cancer patients: coping with patients’ negative emotions, questions beyond the scope of their expertise and how to manage patients and their families. These results might facilitate the development of interventions that aim to improve patient-pharmacist communications in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Japanese pharmacist
  • cancer
  • communication skills
  • difficult communication
  • patients
  • semi-structured interview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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