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Systemic Therapy Patient Education

This session helps nurses provide systemic therapy information to patients.

BC Cancer currently offers an introductory patient education session for all patients receiving systemic therapy. This initial session provides the patient with an overview of systemic therapy, the management of potential side effects and self care strategies. 

Learning is an active and iterative process, therefore, this session is considered an important first step in the learning process. It is recommended that all new patients receiving oral or parenteral systemic therapy attend the session. The session is facilitated by professionals from a variety of health-care disciplines and is presented in a group format.

This Tool Kit contains the materials required for qualified health care professionals to facilitate and evaluate a group systemic therapy patient education session:

  • Teaching (Facilitator Criteria and Assessment)
  • Materials (PowerPoint Presentation, Patient Information Package, Evaluation Tool)


Teaching competencies

In order to support successful learning outcomes, the Health Care Professional facilitating the learning sessions will posses the requisite knowledge, experience and skills. This includes, but is not limited to, the science of systemic therapy; the identification and management of systemic therapy-induced side effects; self care strategies and the principles of adult learning.

Defining teaching competencies may contribute to a framework which can be utilized to promote standardization and support professional development. The principle based approach identified below recognizes that the knowledge base of competency in teaching can be evaluated through a written assessment, and the evaluation of competency practice and application can be completed through self assessment and peer observation.

Principle Based Teaching Competencies: Bing-You et al (2009) have proposed seven principle based teaching competencies which they suggest can apply to all learners and learning venues. These competencies have been deliberately defined as observable behaviours, thus contributing to the ease at which they can be measured. They include:

  1. Developing a climate conducive to learning
  2. Actively engaging learners
  3. Assessing a learner's knowledge, skills and attitudes
  4. Facilitating the learners educational goals
  5. Providing feedback to learners
  6. Having self awareness of their own teaching competencies
  7. Fostering self-directed and lifelong learning

Assessing competency

The Facilitator Assessment Form is a tool which can be used to assess competency in teaching through observation or self assessment. Principle based competencies are matched with observable activities to aid in the assessment process. Facilitators and leaders are encouraged to utilize this tool for the purpose of assessment.

Developing facilitation skills

There are numerous resources which can be utilized to further develop facilitation and public speaking skills. The following list identifies some possible resources accessible in your community or via the internet.

1. Toastmasters International

A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere. There is no instructor in a Toastmaster meeting. Instead, members evaluate one another's presentations. This feedback process is a key part of the program's success. Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings and develop skills related to timekeeping, grammar and parliamentary procedure. 

2. Presentation tips courtesy of the Internet

What to do with your hands when you are presenting 

The 5 second steal 

Five things every presenter needs to know about people 

How to make presentations accessible to all 


Bing-You, R.G., Lee, R., Trowbridge, R.L., Varaklis, K., & Hafler, J.P., (2009. Commentary: Principle-Based Teaching Competencies. Journal of Graduate Medical Education. 1(1): pp. 100-103.

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (2009). The Framework for Achieving Excellence in the Provision of Cancer Patient Education in Canada (PDF). 


PowerPoint presentation 

The PowerPoint presentation contains 60 slides and can be delivered in less than 1 hour. The presentation outline is included in the notes section. Patients and their families are invited to attend a tour of the cancer centre once the presentation and question period has concluded.

There is also a video of a systemic therapy teaching session available on the BC Cancer Website.

Patient information resources

These four resources are provided to all patients who attend the chemotherapy education session:

1. Patient Information Template (BC Cancer) - This template has been developed for use in the regional centres and Community Oncology Network (CON) clinics. Please integrate information as required.

2. Chemotherapy and Other Drug Therapies (Canadian Cancer Society) 

3.  Guidelines for Handling Cancer Drugs and Body Fluids in the Home (BC Cancer) 

4. Financial Assistance for Prescription Drugs (PDF) (BC Cancer) 

Additional resources 

Additional Sources of Patient Information

Evaluation tool

This questionnaire has been designed to evaluate patient perception of the session effectiveness. Questions have been developed based on three key areas: 

  1. Systemic Therapy overview
  2. Side effect identification
  3. Self care strategies

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SOURCE: Systemic Therapy Patient Education ( )
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