Navigating Challenging Conversations Through the Cancer Trajectory: A Practical, Evidence-Based Approach for Oncology Clinicians

Navigating Challenging Conversations Through the Cancer Trajectory: A Practical, Evidence-Based Approach for Oncology Clinicians Banner

Date & Location
Friday, September 21, 2018, 8:30 AM - Saturday, September 22, 2018, 5:00 PM, 641 Lexington Ave, 7th Floor, New York, NY

Target Audience
Behavioral Sciences, Breast Medical Oncology, Breast Surgery, Critical Care Medicine, Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Oncology, General Surgery, Genitourinary Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, Head and Neck Oncology, Hematology & Oncology, Infectious Disease, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Medical Oncology, Neuro-Oncology, Nurse Practitioner, Nursing, Palliative Medicine, Pediatric Oncology, Physician Assistant, Psychiatry, Psychology, Radiation Oncology, Radiology-Interventional, Social Work, Surgical Oncology, Thoracic Medical Oncology, Thoracic Surgery, Urology


This two day intensive training course provides an overview of the importance of effective communication in clinical interactions and emphasizes evidence based communication skills and strategies to support clinicians in common challenging communication scenarios, particularly in the oncology setting. The course is being hosted by Memorial Sloan Kettering's Comskil Training Program and Research Laboratory, which is the nation's first formally structured communication initiative at a comprehensive cancer center.

The course is comprised of brief didactic lectures as well as small group experiential role plays. The didactics feature exemplary videos, demonstrating the communication skills and strategies taught in the lecture, and present an overview of a "blueprint" or roadmap for navigating challenging communication scenarios. The small group role play exercises, which include interaction with standardized patients and are run by trained facilitators, provide an opportunity for learners to practice the communication skills and strategies in a variety of clinically sensitive and relevant situations. The role plays are tailored to the trainee's clinical population as well as their individual learning goal. Trainees will receive verbal feedback from peers and facilitators and will have an opportunity to observe their role play through video playback. While the curriculum has been developed for clinicians providing cancer care, it can be readily adapted for professionals in hospice settings and for those treating patients with HIV/AIDs as well as other chronic and life-threatening diseases.

Training Location

Please note this course will be held at the Department of Psychiatry: 641 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY (get directions).

  1. Describe the significance of communication skills training and the rationale for the use of role play in training
  2. Learn to identify empathic opportunities in clinical encounters and understand the principles of an empathic response
  3. Practice and implement foundational communication skills and process tasks necessary and relevant for discussions with patients and families, on the following topics: 1. Discussing prognosis, 2. Discussing Death, Dying, and End of Life Goals of Care, 3. Engaging patients and family members in shared decision making for treatment options (including palliative care), 4. Communicating with non-English speaking patients via interpreters


In order to register for this course, you must first complete a Comskil Training Application. Applicants will receive a notification of their acceptance in the course as well as details for how to complete registration. If you have any questions, please contact

 Registration Fees  Early*   General 
 Physicians (MDs, PhDs and DOs)  $600  $710
 Residents and Fellows  $300   $355 
 Nurses, Techs and Other Healthcare Providers       $400  $475
 Industry Professionals**  $1,000   $1,180 

*Early Registration Rate Expires August 17, 2018
**Industry professionals may attend CME activities for their own education. Marketing, sales, and promotion of products and services is strictly prohibited at MSK CME activities.

Registration includes access to an online course syllabus (with downloadable PDF files), continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshment breaks. Please contact at least one week prior to the course if you have any special dietary needs.

After your payment has been processed, no further promotional discount adjustments will be made to your registration.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your participation in this course, your registration fee, less a $75 administrative fee, will be refunded when email notification is received by the MSK Office of Continuing Medical Education (MSK CME) at least 7 days prior to the first day of the course (

Cancellations or no-shows after this date are not eligible for a refund. MSK CME reserves the right to cancel or postpone any course due to unforeseen circumstances. In the unlikely event we must cancel or postpone this course, we will refund the registration fee in full, but are not responsible for any related costs, charges, or expenses to participants, including fees incurred by airline/travel/lodging agencies. At any time, you may substitute another registrant in your place after contacting MSK CME with the relevant information.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement

MSK designates this live activity for a maximum of 14.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Social Work Accreditation Statement

This presentation is approved for a maximum of 14.5 Continuing Education Contact Hours of Live In-Person Training. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0228.