Distress Screening for Men with Prostate Cancer

Article Abstract and comment: Seminars in Oncology Nursing 36(4) 2020

Samantha Jakimowicz, Tracy Levett-Jones and Suzanne K. Chambers


Note: This research refers to a trial of the Distress Screening for Prostate Cancer (DSPC) e-learning module currently available for free by the University of Technology Sydney. This course is highly recommended by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia for healthcare professionals working with men diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer including, but not limited to, general practitioners, registered nurses (general and urology, oncology), prostate cancer specialist nurses, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists.

“Although screening for distress and referral to evidence-based psychosocial support is a well-endorsed standard of cancer care, the extent to which this standard has been implemented varies widely. Lack of awareness, knowledge and skills in screening for distress in this patient group are likely key barriers to psychosocial care provision. The objective therefore was to discuss the development, design and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Distress Screening for Prostate Cancer (DSPC) module in targeting the perceived challenges and barriers to distress screening and psychological care by healthcare professionals.

The DSPC module was piloted with five senior prostate cancer specialist nurses prior to the planned implementation with 50 prostate cancer nurses. Their average age was 49.8 years (range 43 to 57 years); there were three females and two males. Results from the Satisfaction with the Distress Screening Prostate Cancer E-Learning Module instrument indicated a high level of overall satisfaction with individual participants’ scores ranging from 83-125/125 (mean 108.2).

Conclusion: Distress screening is an essential component of prostate cancer care and based on the information collected from stakeholders an e-learning module was designed and developed as an interactive and engaging evidence-based, pedagogically sound educational platform. The preliminary results from piloting the e-learning module indicated a high level of learner satisfaction and a measurable improvement in pre-post knowledge acquisition scores. These results suggest that this approach has the potential to increase screening for distress in men with prostate cancer and lead to more timely referral to psychosocial and supportive care to improve men’s quality of life after diagnosis and over the illness trajectory.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Specialist nurses and other healthcare professionals play an important role in screening men with prostate cancer for distress. This newly designed educational resource supports nurses in their practice of screening men with prostate cancer and the appropriate referral process.”

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