Training Focuses on Cancer Toolbox

In November, NASW, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and the Oncology Nursing Society hosted a first-of-its-kind, one-day workshop for social workers and nurses to learn how to train their colleagues in using the NCCS’s Cancer Survival Toolbox. The event took place at the NASW national office in Washington.

The award-winning Cancer Survival Toolbox is an audio program that helps people living with cancer, as well as their family members, understand and develop skills to address the challenges of their illness.

“The Toolbox was heavily promoted when it was first developed about 10 years ago,” said Stacy Collins, an NASW senior practice associate who helped facilitate the workshop. “But there are many more social workers and nurses working today who may not be as familiar with it, which is why we are working to equip new ambassadors to promote the Toolbox. Also, it’s continuously updated and there are new sections, so this is a good way to update the field.”

Most recently, NASW and NCCS produced modules for people living with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The modules address diagnosis and basic treatment options, side effects and symptom management, coping with change and information for caregivers.

Collins said more than 300 social workers and nurses nationwide applied to participate in the workshop; 21 were selected. Those accepted were chosen based on the quality of their professional peer training proposals.

“We also factored in diversity in terms of geography and practice setting,” she noted.

The workshop included role playing and interactive exercises. Master trainers Pamela “PJ” Haylock and Kathy Walsh, original authors of the toolbox, modeled training techniques throughout the workshop. Afterward, participants rewrote their peer training proposals to reflect the content of the workshop.

Participants signed an agreement promising to train at least 20 of their professional peers in the 12 months following the workshop using a template curriculum. Collins pointed out that the local training sessions will offer continuing education credits.

NASW plans to host a similar training event this year for social workers on patient adherence to oral chemotherapy regimens.

The Cancer Survival Toolbox is available for free in English or Spanish.