Exposure to suicidality in professionals working with oncology patients: an online survey

  • Objective: To explore and describe exposure to suicidality in healthcare providers (HCP) working with oncological patients. Special emphasis was put on five central aspects from the HCPs perspective: Exposure, Confidence, Expertise, Distress, and Education. Methods: A 48‐item online questionnaire was developed and distributed to HCPs working with cancer patients. Three hundred fifty‐four answered questionnaires were analyzed. Results: Overall 83.3% of HCPs reported to have encountered at least one suicidal patient in the last year. Feeling confident in talking about suicidality was reported by 72.1% of HCPs, with 71.2% of nurses reporting feeling insecure compared with only 5.1% of psychotherapists. Similarly, 22.3% of HCPs felt overwhelmed when confronted with a patient who substantiated his suicidality during consultation. A lack of personal knowledge concerning suicidality in general and in oncological patients in particular, was reported by 39.6% and 49.8%, respectively. In total, 88.1% of HCPs reported feeling distressed when confronted with suicidality, while 81.1% of participants wanted further education regarding suicidality in cancer patients despite that 73.2% had already received some sort of psycho‐oncology education. Conclusions: Despite the well‐documented fact of elevated suicide rates in cancer patients, there remain deficits in knowledge, which induce feelings of insecurity and helplessness in HCPs. There is a demand for further education concerning the treatment of suicidal cancer patients. Therefore, special curricula addressing this topic should be devised. A general debate about suicidality in cancer patients could help raise awareness of this problem and generate means of prevention.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Bianca SenfORCiDGND, Paula Maiwurm, Jens Fettel
Parent Title (English):Psycho‐Oncology
Place of publication:New York, NY [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/07/16
Date of first Publication:2020/07/16
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/12/07
Tag:cancer; confidence; distress; expertise; exposure; further education; oncology; online survey; psycho-oncology; suicidality
Page Number:10
First Page:1620
Last Page:1629
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell 4.0