Knowledge transfer in cancer care

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Published: 10 May 2012
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Francoise Charnay Sonnek – l'Ecole de Formation Européenne en Cancérologie, Paris, France

Francoise Charnay Sonnek discusses the importance of knowledge transfer in cancer care and cancer management.


There is a great need to develop specific and continuing education programmes for nurses and young scientists, as on average a person only retains 7% of information from a lesson without ‘action learning’.


‘Action learning’ is when participants put into practice what they have learned by discussing and evaluating that information with other participants.


Filming Supported by Amgen

8th European Oncology Nursing Society Spring Convention (EONS-8) - Geneva, April 26 - 28, 2012

Knowledge transfer in cancer care


Francoise Charnay Sonnek – l’Ecole de Formation Européenne en Cancérologie, Paris, France

Knowledge transfer is something that is very important in cancer management and cancer care. You’ve got a special way of looking at knowledge transfer, what do you mean by this?


I focussed my presentation about continuing education, to make possible that knowledge that you get in a training session be put in action and into practice.


What special things do you need to do then? You can just have someone standing up and talking and saying “This is what you do.”


You can listen to someone and then you will keep maybe 7%.




Only 7% of the message you have heard. So you need more, you need that knowledge you get in your mind, in your head, will mature just like ‘corna’ and the ‘corna’ needs some water and then it will get a flower and then it will be nicer with sun and water. And that’s the same with knowledge.


Yes, so how do you do it then? 7% if you just tell people?


Do you know action learning?


Tell me more about it.


Action learning is to allow the participant to put into practice what they have learned in terms of work, to do in their workplace, and then to have the possibility to exchange afterwards with other participants and to evaluate their practice and to evaluate what they have done. With this exchange, first of all when you do this work in your workplace you will use the knowledge you have got and you will practice it. I will give you an example: side effects of chemotherapy, for example. You have a session, a two-day session by e-learning or face-to-face meeting, and then you come back to your workplace with the work to do. For example, look in your practice – do you use special tools to assess side effects or not? If yes, are these tools useful or not? Do you think they are efficient or not?


Now these are great ideas, have you got a system for actually making this happen?


The continuing formation organisation, for example, developed a programme with a theoretical session including case studies and role play, for example, and then you have another session, eight weeks or six weeks later to make it possible to evaluate what you have done.


And in between you do the practical bit?




Now, how much have you increased that 7%? Has it gone up to 30%, 40% or what? Quite a bit?


Yes, quite a bit. The key message, you keep the key message and you…


You water it, let it mature.




And it happens, yes. That sounds very important, I’m sure we’ll come back to that but you’ve got a great interest in prostate cancer, haven’t you? You’ve also got things to say about prostate cancer here at the conference in Geneva, what’s the big thing here?


To come back to the prostate survey, what’s very interesting is that this survey was declined into three little surveys. It was an assessment of the knowledge and the need of training by nurses, the same for junior doctors.


Why particularly prostate cancer?


Because prostate cancer is a big issue nowadays and we have an increasing number of men with prostate cancer.


Living with cancer, of course.


Living with prostate cancer, and a big issue in terms of uncertainty because all patients won’t be treated and will only live with the prostate cancer. It is a disease of length, it is slowly developing in length and if all men would be 100 years old, all men would be…


Would have prostate cancer.




So what new things have you got to say to cancer professionals about supporting patients who live with prostate cancer?


I come back to our survey. We did then a questionnaire to the patients to know what are the expectations of the patient: how they feel, do they feel well-informed, really supported and what are their needs? It is interesting to have both parts, the view of nurses and scientists and the view of the patient and then to cross the results and then to make an education programme for nurses and for young scientists to know what are the points, what are the essential topics to be addressed.


OK, you’re very into knowledge transfer so what is the key knowledge in the case of prostate cancer patient support?


Actually I couldn’t attend the presentation of Jane Cook, I think she had presented the results of our last survey and at the end the group wanted to develop this programme.


But there’s a lot to be done and there’s a big need there so you want to raise awareness, just as, for instance, breast cancer in women has been regarded as a big issue for support. Are men the same as women in that respect?


Men and women are different but both of them need support. We should adapt the support to the men.


Now you’re a very broad person pursuing many academic endeavours and one of them I can’t resist asking you about is bones, bone metastases. You have something called the Skeletal Care Academy, could you tell me just a teeny-weeny bit about this please?


Bone metastasis is also a big issue in cancer and bone metastasis is correlated with pain. We know that pain is not… we speak a lot about pain and pain is not really well assessed and pain is not really well treated although we speak about pain management for years and for years. That’s one point.


So what can the Skeletal Care Academy contribute?


The Skeletal Care Academy contributes to raise awareness and not only to raise awareness but to make it happen that the people assess rightly pain and treat rightly the patient and also know the different treatments of bone metastases. Also to make nurses able to recognise the signs of bone metastases and risk factors.


So it all comes back to knowledge transfer, so what’s the main thing you’d like people to get out of this, to raise that 7% of knowledge when someone just tells you? What’s the main message?


We come back to management. If the manager is sensitive to continuing education then the nurses will go to training to receive knowledge. If we have managers sensitive and also participative, if they support a participative management, then these nurses will be included in project making and to improve cancer care.


So all of the care will improve and the knowledge will sink in, thank you very much.