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IJMDC. 2021; 5(1): 49-55

Evaluation of surgeons' skills in breaking bad news to cancer patients based on the SPIKES protocol in multiple medical centers at Taif city, Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional study

Sahar Alnefaie, Nuha Nabeel Filfilan, Ebtehal Amer Altalhi, Raghad Sayer Al Juaid4, Noura D. Aljuaid, Raghad Abdulrahman Al thobaiti, Hend Osamah Almerdas, Ghadi Fawaz Althobaiti.


Background: In Saudi Arabia, most published studies about breaking bad news were assessing oncology doctors' skills using SPIKES protocol in their practice. This study was done to evaluate surgeons' skills in breaking bad news to cancer patients based on SPIKES protocol in multiple hospitals at Taif, Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire for all practicing surgeons (n= 115) working in multi medical centers at Taif, Saudi Arabia from December 2019 to January 2020. Anonymity was maintained throughout the study by applying codes for each participant.
Results: 115 surgeons participated in the current study including 68 males (59.1%) and 47 females (40.9%). Most of the participantsÂ’ job title was general surgery (GS) (73%), and 13.9% was obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN).The average of their age was 35.37 years with a mean experience years of the participants was 9.97 years, 70.4% (81) had delivered bad news to a cancer patient less than 5 times, and 25 (21.7%) had 5 to 10 times. Out of them, 61.7% knew the SPIKES protocol when breaking the bad news.
Conclusion: Although most of the participating surgeons were keen to help their patients, they lacked good communication skills in breaking bad news. Therefore, updated skills in communicating bad news should be acquired as early as possible through the integration of breaking bad news training in the educational program.

Key words: Skill, breaking bad news, surgeons, cancer patient

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