Communication during radiation therapy education sessions: The role of medical jargon and emotional support in clarifying patient confusion

Lena Schnitzler, Sian K Smith, Heather L Shepherd, Joanne Shaw, Skye Dong, Delesha M Carpenter, Frances Nguyen, Haryana M Dhillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Radiation oncology consultations involve explanation of complex technical concepts using medical jargon. This study aimed to: analyse types and frequency of medical jargon that radiation therapists (RTs) use during education sessions; identify how patients seek clarification from RTs; and, explore RTs communication strategies.

METHODS: Education sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Medical jargon was analysed using MaxDictio (a vocabulary analysis programme). A distinction was made between specialised (specialised terms used in RT or cancer) and contextual jargon (common everyday words with a different meaning in RT). Qualitative data were analysed using Framework analysis.

RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients and 10 RTs participated. Contextual treatment jargon were the most frequently used jargon (32.2%) along with general medical terms (34.6%). Patients appeared uncertain about the number of treatments, side effects, and the risks of radiation. Patients sought clarification by asking RTs to explain or repeat information. RTs replaced jargon with a simpler word, used everyday analogies, and diagrams.

CONCLUSION: Use of medical jargon is common in RT education sessions. RTs used different jargon types to varying degrees, but contextual jargon dominated.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Training RTs how to tailor information to enhance patients' understanding would be beneficial. Future research exploring medical jargon used in other (non-) oncology settings is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume100
Issue number1
Early online date9 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Allied Health Personnel/psychology
  • Communication
  • Comprehension
  • Confusion
  • Female
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms/radiotherapy
  • Patient Education as Topic/methods
  • Physicians
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Terminology as Topic

Cite this

Communication during radiation therapy education sessions : The role of medical jargon and emotional support in clarifying patient confusion. / Schnitzler, Lena; Smith, Sian K; Shepherd, Heather L; Shaw, Joanne; Dong, Skye; Carpenter, Delesha M; Nguyen, Frances; Dhillon, Haryana M.

In: Patient Education and Counseling, Vol. 100, No. 1, 01.2017, p. 112-120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schnitzler, Lena ; Smith, Sian K ; Shepherd, Heather L ; Shaw, Joanne ; Dong, Skye ; Carpenter, Delesha M ; Nguyen, Frances ; Dhillon, Haryana M. / Communication during radiation therapy education sessions : The role of medical jargon and emotional support in clarifying patient confusion. In: Patient Education and Counseling. 2017 ; Vol. 100, No. 1. pp. 112-120.
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abstract = "OBJECTIVE: Radiation oncology consultations involve explanation of complex technical concepts using medical jargon. This study aimed to: analyse types and frequency of medical jargon that radiation therapists (RTs) use during education sessions; identify how patients seek clarification from RTs; and, explore RTs communication strategies.METHODS: Education sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Medical jargon was analysed using MaxDictio (a vocabulary analysis programme). A distinction was made between specialised (specialised terms used in RT or cancer) and contextual jargon (common everyday words with a different meaning in RT). Qualitative data were analysed using Framework analysis.RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients and 10 RTs participated. Contextual treatment jargon were the most frequently used jargon (32.2{\%}) along with general medical terms (34.6{\%}). Patients appeared uncertain about the number of treatments, side effects, and the risks of radiation. Patients sought clarification by asking RTs to explain or repeat information. RTs replaced jargon with a simpler word, used everyday analogies, and diagrams.CONCLUSION: Use of medical jargon is common in RT education sessions. RTs used different jargon types to varying degrees, but contextual jargon dominated.PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Training RTs how to tailor information to enhance patients' understanding would be beneficial. Future research exploring medical jargon used in other (non-) oncology settings is required.",
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AU - Schnitzler, Lena

AU - Smith, Sian K

AU - Shepherd, Heather L

AU - Shaw, Joanne

AU - Dong, Skye

AU - Carpenter, Delesha M

AU - Nguyen, Frances

AU - Dhillon, Haryana M

N1 - Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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N2 - OBJECTIVE: Radiation oncology consultations involve explanation of complex technical concepts using medical jargon. This study aimed to: analyse types and frequency of medical jargon that radiation therapists (RTs) use during education sessions; identify how patients seek clarification from RTs; and, explore RTs communication strategies.METHODS: Education sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Medical jargon was analysed using MaxDictio (a vocabulary analysis programme). A distinction was made between specialised (specialised terms used in RT or cancer) and contextual jargon (common everyday words with a different meaning in RT). Qualitative data were analysed using Framework analysis.RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients and 10 RTs participated. Contextual treatment jargon were the most frequently used jargon (32.2%) along with general medical terms (34.6%). Patients appeared uncertain about the number of treatments, side effects, and the risks of radiation. Patients sought clarification by asking RTs to explain or repeat information. RTs replaced jargon with a simpler word, used everyday analogies, and diagrams.CONCLUSION: Use of medical jargon is common in RT education sessions. RTs used different jargon types to varying degrees, but contextual jargon dominated.PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Training RTs how to tailor information to enhance patients' understanding would be beneficial. Future research exploring medical jargon used in other (non-) oncology settings is required.

AB - OBJECTIVE: Radiation oncology consultations involve explanation of complex technical concepts using medical jargon. This study aimed to: analyse types and frequency of medical jargon that radiation therapists (RTs) use during education sessions; identify how patients seek clarification from RTs; and, explore RTs communication strategies.METHODS: Education sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Medical jargon was analysed using MaxDictio (a vocabulary analysis programme). A distinction was made between specialised (specialised terms used in RT or cancer) and contextual jargon (common everyday words with a different meaning in RT). Qualitative data were analysed using Framework analysis.RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients and 10 RTs participated. Contextual treatment jargon were the most frequently used jargon (32.2%) along with general medical terms (34.6%). Patients appeared uncertain about the number of treatments, side effects, and the risks of radiation. Patients sought clarification by asking RTs to explain or repeat information. RTs replaced jargon with a simpler word, used everyday analogies, and diagrams.CONCLUSION: Use of medical jargon is common in RT education sessions. RTs used different jargon types to varying degrees, but contextual jargon dominated.PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Training RTs how to tailor information to enhance patients' understanding would be beneficial. Future research exploring medical jargon used in other (non-) oncology settings is required.

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KW - Confusion

KW - Female

KW - Health Literacy

KW - Humans

KW - Language

KW - Male

KW - Middle Aged

KW - Neoplasms/radiotherapy

KW - Patient Education as Topic/methods

KW - Physicians

KW - Professional-Patient Relations

KW - Terminology as Topic

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JO - Patient Education and Counseling

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SN - 0738-3991

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