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Tamyra Matthews

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Breaking Bad News about Cancer: The Experience of Patients, Patients’ Family/Whānau Members and Healthcare Professionals

Receiving ‘bad news’ about cancer can be a highly emotional experience for patients and their family/whānau. The process of breaking the news can also be challenging for healthcare professionals, as they have to balance clinical and emotional considerations. There was limited New Zealand research on breaking such news, and limited research on family members’ experiences during the process. Ms Matthews interviewed patients, their whānau, and healthcare professionals within a North Island hospital to get an fuller perspective on delivering bad cancer news. Her findings highlight the importance of flexible and tailored delivery, relationship-building between the deliverer and receiver, encouraging all parties to access support to cope with this difficult process, and sharing responsibility across healthcare organisations and workers to improve the process.

Dr Don Baken
Ms Lizzy Kent
Dr Kirsty Ross