Skip to navigation Skip to content

Conversations Matter

Conversations Matter is a funded program for Victoria’s regional cancer centres. The program strengthens communication, supportive care, and patient safety in a local and sustainable way. Conversations Matter is funded by the Victorian Government and is led by Deakin University’s Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare (OCPH). It is a key strategy for realising the current Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-2024.

Benefits of the program
  • For community: Accessing the right care at the right time, particularly for groups who experience barriers to using support services.
  • For staff: Feeling confident to have tough conversations in a supportive way to help those they care for have better cancer outcomes.
  • For organisations: A framework to promote safe, consistent care, and to increase efficiencies across the board.

The program provides a significant, local professional development opportunity, followed by ongoing, embedded training and free, evidence-based resources.

What is involved?

Conversations Matter is first and foremost a partnership between regional cancer centres, local health professionals, and consumers. It is a community initiative across all Victorian regions and was developed locally, specifically for regional Victoria.

  • Working together to identify local challenges of communication
  • Developing a local plan for permanently changing the culture of cancer communication in the region
  • Professional development opportunities and targeted support resources for clinical and non-clinical staff
  • Building a community of local healthcare communication teachers to sustain the changes
Frequently asked questions

How is Conversations Matter different to other communication skills training?

Conversations Matter is a program championed by locals and overseen by local implementation teams. It is a holistic framework for permanently changing the culture of communication for clinical and non-clinical staff. Individual training programs, such as for teams or departments, can be expensive, have limited reach and lack sustainability.

What is the time commitment for the program?

Time commitments vary for different components of the program. For some staff, it will be attending part-day training. For healthcare communication teachers, the commitment involves initial professional development, and ongoing delivery of training in their organisation. For leaders and local champions, there will be initial meetings, followed by quarterly steering group meetings, and ongoing implementation activities. Implementation of the program will take place throughout 2024.

What will services need to pay to participate?

The program is funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health.

Who is delivering the program?

Deakin University’s OCPH team are local, academic experts in healthcare communication, based at the Waurn Ponds Campus in Geelong. The team has collectively trained several thousand health professionals, volunteers and non-clinical staff in Australia and internationally. Following OCPH training, local teams will continue to deliver training on core skills.

What does the training component involve?

Conversations Matter training involves a series of online and in-person options, delivered by OCPH. The series includes a variety of webinars, 4-hour workshops, and experiential masterclasses for different audiences. Topics can include:

  • Skilled introductions
  • Responding to strong emotions
  • Making a referral
  • Health behaviour change
  • Making the most of telemedicine
  • Conducting distress screening
  • Increasing referral uptake to supportive care
  • Planning future care and advance care planning

Previous Conversations Matter Webinars are available to view on the OCPH Vimeo Channel.

 

2024 Training Calendar

All training sessions are free of charge for staff working in Victoria’s regional cancer centres.

Date Time Training opportunity Location Audience
18 June 12:30pm-
4:30pm
Responding to High Emotion: Interactive Workshop Online Clinical Staff: all regions
20 June 3:00pm- 4:30pm Responding to Patient Stories: Webinar Online Non-Clinical Staff: all regions
26 June 9:30am- 11:00am Communication Skills for Telehealth: Webinar Online Clinical Staff: all regions
27 June 12:30pm- 4:30pm Communication Skills for Health Behaviour Change: Interactive Workshop Online Clinical Staff: all regions
28 June 9:30am- 11:00am Becoming a Conversations Matter Champion of Change: Information Session Online Clinical and Non-Clinical Staff: all regions
8 July 9:30am- 11:00am Giving Information and Teach-Back: Webinar (registration opening soon) Online Clinical and Non-Clinical Staff: all regions
8 July 12:30pm – 4:30pm Building Effective Relationships: Interactive Workshop (registration opening soon) Online Clinical Staff: all regions
10 July 9:00am – 1:00pm Helping People Make Choices for their Care: Interactive Workshop (registration opening soon) Online Clinical Staff: all regions
25 July 12:30pm- 4:30pm Helping People Make Choices for their Care: Interactive Workshop (registration opening soon) Online Clinical Staff: all regions
26 July 12:30pm- 4:30pm Communication Skills for Health Behaviour Change: Interactive Workshop Online Clinical Staff: all regions
30 July 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Supportive Care Screening and Survivorship Mantra, Traralgon Clinical Staff: Gippsland Cancer Care Centre
31 July 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Communication Skills for Health Behaviour Change Mantra, Traralgon Clinical Staff: Gippsland Cancer Care Centre
7 August 12:30pm- 4:30pm Giving Information and Teach-Back: Interactive Workshop (registration opening soon) Online Clinical Staff: all regions
21 August 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Supportive Care Screening and Survivorship Waurn Ponds Estate, Geelong Clinical Staff: Andrew Love Cancer Centre
22 August 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Responding to High Emotion Waurn Ponds Estate, Geelong Clinical Staff: Andrew Love Cancer Centre
27 August 12:30pm- 4:30pm Giving Information and Teach-Back: Interactive Workshop (registration opening soon) Online Clinical Staff: all regions
29 August 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Supportive Care Screening and Survivorship RACV Goldfields, Creswick Clinical Staff: Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre
30 August 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Supportive Care Screening and Survivorship RACV Goldfields, Creswick Clinical Staff: Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre
12 September 9:00am- 4:00pm Communication Masterclass: Supportive Care Screening and Survivorship Lady Bay Resort, Warrnambool Clinical Staff: South West Regional Cancer Centre

More sessions added regularly, check back soon!

Read what participants are saying about Conversations Matter training:

Despite previous experience or numbers of years in respective roles, this is invaluable in developing and honing communication skills

Highly recommended. Even as an experienced clinician of many years I found it particularly intellectually stimulating AND very practical. The presenters are passionate and highly skilled in delivering the content, with emphasis placed on the evidence behind the use of certain communication techniques

More information

Download the Conversations Matter Plan on a Page

Conversations Matter training is evidence-based and mapped to the Calgary Cambridge approach to communication skills teaching and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Consensus Guideline for Patient-Clinician Communication.

For more information about the program design and features, read the program plan or contact ocph@deakin.edu.au

13 June 2024

back to top