Up to 89% of cancer patients have unmet psychosocial needs. E-Counseling, defined as the use of the Internet to deliver psychosocial interventions, offers patients in need the ability to receive psychosocial cancer care in a clinically efficacious, cost-effective, and convenient manner. E-Counseling overcomes barriers which stand in the way of more traditional face-to-face counseling methods, and increases provider reach. Unfortunately, few psychosocial cancer care providers are trained in E-Counseling skills. Our recent needs assessment of psychosocial cancer care providers (N=104) indicated that only 4% of providers currently practice E-Counseling with cancer patients and survivors, 12% felt they had sufficient training in how to conduct E-Counseling, and 93% stated they would be interested in E-Counseling online training. To remedy this gap in professional training and respond to provider interest, the aims of the proposal are to: 1) Develop and implement an online training program in E-Counseling for psychosocial cancer care providers (E-Counseling for Cancer Course: ECCC);2) Evaluate the effects of ECCC on trainee competency in E-Counseling for cancer;3) Evaluate the effects of ECCC on clinical practice behavior;and, 4) Identify trainee characteristics which predict adoption of E-Counseling. The project is guided by two theoretical approaches. The training component of ECCC is guided by a Foundational Competency Approach. In particular, training will focus on developing the following skills: Empirically-based practice of E-Counseling for cancer, Legal compliance in E-Counseling for cancer, Ethical conduct in E-Counseling for cancer, Therapeutic relationship development in E-Counseling for cancer, and Culturally sensitive E-Counseling for cancer. ECCC faculty members are experts in each of the E-Counseling foundational competencies. The evaluation component of ECCC is guided by the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model, and will focus on three levels of evaluation: Reactions (satisfaction), Learning (achievement of competency benchmarks), and Transfer (adoption of E-Counseling into clinical practice). Licensed psychosocial cancer care providers (N=820;including psychologists, nurses, social workers, and psychiatrists) from across the country will be recruited via professional listservs. Admissions will be rolling. Once accepted, they will participate in ECCC, a five module, multimedia, E-Learning program. Trainees will be evaluated as part of each module and at three and six months following ECCC completion. In summary, despite E-Counseling's tremendous promise for psychosocial cancer care, few psychosocial cancer care providers are trained to deliver it. Essentially, there is high demand for E-Counseling, but limited supply of E-Counseling providers. Therefore, this R25E is designed to train psychosocial cancer care providers in how to provide high quality, competent E-Counseling that is empirically based, legally compliant, ethically sound, empathic, and culturally sensitive.
E-Counseling, defined as the use of the Internet to deliver psychosocial interventions, has the potential to dramatically increase the ability of psychosocial care providers to reach cancer patients and survivors in need. Despite E-Counseling's promise for improving the delivery of psychosocial cancer care, few psychosocial cancer care providers are trained or skilled in the conduct of E-Counseling. Therefore, the goal of the proposed R25E is to develop an effective E-Learning program to train psychosocial cancer care providers to skillfully, sensitively, ethically, and competently deliver E-Counseling to cancer patients and survivors.
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