Development of a Psychosocial Oncology Core Curriculum for Multidisciplinary Education and Training: Initial Content Validation Using the Modified Delphi Method

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Objective: Despite its four decade history, the multidisciplinary specialty of psychosocial oncology (PSO) has no official consensus on core content. In 2014, the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) Board charged the APOS Professional Education Committee with outlining curricular content needed for core competence. Methods: Content validation was completed using a four‐phase modified Delphi Method. During Phase I, a Professional Education Committee subgroup proposed domains and items, which were rated by the APOS Fellows and Board via online survey. During Phase II, Fellows completed a second, revised survey. Phase III incorporated early career members. Developmental and diversity items were integrated into each domain. In Phase IV, a larger group of subject matter experts were surveyed, with feedback incorporated. Validation across phases involved average rating thresholds, intraclass correlations, and final percent agreement. Results: The Delphi Method supported 12 content domains: Cancer Basics, Psychosocial Oncology, Professional Development, Ethics, Emotional/Psychological Concerns, Sexuality and Relationship Concerns, Spiritual/Religious Concerns, Healthcare Communication and Decision Making, Social/Practical Problems, Caregiver Concerns, Cognitive Concerns, Physical Symptoms and Psychosocial Assessment/Treatment. High levels of agreement were achieved across domains (86%–100%) and items, with no significant rating differences by discipline. Conclusions: This proposed core content can enhance and standardize education and training in PSO including APOS' Virtual Psychosocial Oncology Core Curriculum, focused on broadly expanding the PSO workforce, particularly in underserved areas. Next steps include development of core competencies and establishment of online training modules based on this content validation.



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