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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Theories & Models in Psycho-oncology
Module Code NS538
School School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Online Module Resources

Level 1 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Module Aims

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module and following a period of personal study, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate detailed understanding of theories & models of care in psycho-oncology; particularly basic systems theory, the Gate Control Theory of pain compared to other pain theories and the Biopsychosocial model of care.
  • Critically analyse the rational for pain as the fifth and distress as the sixth vital sign in the care of the person with cancer and demonstrate detailed understanding of and skills related to assessment of distress and cancer pain and symptom management at any stage of the cancer trajectory across the life span, genders, and normal and minority populations.
  • Demonstrate detailed understanding of the implications of the experience of the illness of cancer, cancer pain and cancer treatments on all domains and aspects of quality of life and survivorship for the person with cancer, their family and other members of their close social network including people with learning, hearing and communication difficulties.
  • Critically analyse and demonstrate detailed understanding of the stress & relaxation responses; models of stress, stress management, essentials of psychoneuroimmunology, adjustment, problem solving skills and  social support, health promotion and psycho-educative interventions on patient coping, self advocacy health outcomes and family dynamics.
  • Critically analyse and demonstrate detailed understanding of key aspects of psycho-oncology service delivery, including psychometric and psychiatric assessment and referral pathways, psychodynamic andcognitive.
  • Behavioural interventions and ‘mind-body’ complementary therapies as part of an integrated multidisciplinary care framework aiming to maximise patient health outcomes and provide supportive care as required.

Indicative Time Allowances
Independent Learning Time 150

Total 150
Assume that a 10 credit module load represents approximately 150 hours' work, which includes all teaching, in-course assignments, laboratory work or other specialised training and an estimated private learning time associated with the module.

Indicative Syllabus


Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Indicative Reading List

Essential reading:

  • Abrahm, J (2005) A physician’s guide to pain and symptom management in cancer patients. USA John Hopkins UP
  • Baider, L, Cooper, CL & Kaplan De Nour A. (2000) Cancer and the Family. Chichester: Wiley
  • Ballantyne, J. (2006) The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Pain Management .3rd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  • Barraclough, J. (1999) Cancer and Emotion: A Practical Guide to Psycho-oncology. USA: Wiley
  • Brennan, J (2004) Cancer in Context: a Practical Guide for Supportive Care. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Burton, M. & Watson, M. (1998). Counselling People with Cancer. Chichester: Wiley
  • MacLellan, K (2006) Management of Pain. UK: Nelson Thornes
  • Melzack, R , Wall PD. (1982)The Challenge of Pain. London: Penguin
  • Moore,R, Spiegel, D (2004) Cancer, Culture and Communication. New York: Kluwer Plenum

Recommended Reading

  • Alison, M (2002) The Cancer Handbook. London: Nature Publishing Group
  • Armstrong L (2001) It’s not About the Bike. New York: Berkley
  • Benson, H. (2000) The Relaxation Response. New York: HarperTorch
  • Borysenko, J (1987) Minding the Body, Mending the Mind. New York: Bantam
  • Buckman, Robert (2006) What you Really Need to Know about Cancer. Canada: Key Porter
  • Buckman, Robert et al. (2007) Cancer is a word, Not a sentence. UK: HarperCollins
  • Byrne, J (2006) If it were just Cancer; a Battle for Dignity and Life. Dublin: Veritas
  • Carr, DB, Loeser, JD, Morris, DB (2005) Narrative, Pain and Suffering. Seattle: IASP
  • Cassileth, BR et al (2005) PDQ Integrative Oncology Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care. Hamilton: London
  • Connor, M, Norman, P (1995) Predicting Health Behaviour. Philadelphia: OUP
  • Devito, J (2008) Human Communication: The Basic Course. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
  • Dollinger, M., Rosenbaum, EH, Tempero, M & Mulvihill SJ (2002) Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy 4th ed Kansas: Andrews McNeel
  • Dworkin, RH, Breitbart, WS (2004) Psychosocial Aspects of Pain. Seattle: IASP
  • Edelman, CL (2005) Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span. UK: Mosby
  • Ernst, E. & Eisenberg D. (2001) Complementary and Alternative Medicine. UK: Mosby
  • Feuerstein, M (2007) Handbook of Cancer Survivorship. New York: Springer
  • Houldin, A (2000) Patients with Cancer: Understanding the Psychological Pain. Philadelphia: Lippincott
  • Holland, JC & Lewis, S. (2000) The Human Side of Cancer Living With Hope, Coping With Uncertainty. New York: Harper Collins
  • Holland, J et al (2006) Quick Reference for Oncology clinicians :The Psychiatric and Psychological Dimensions of Cancer Symptom Management VA, USA: IPOS Press
  • Holland, J.C. & Rowland, J.H. (1991) Handbook of Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Holland, J.C. (1998) Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Moorey, S. & Greer, S. (2002) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for People with Cancer. 2nd ed New York: Oxford University Press
  • National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery (2008) Framework for the Establishment of Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Midwife Practitioner Posts 3rd Ed. Dublin
  • National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery (2007) Framework for the Establishment of Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialist Posts; Intermediate Pathway. Dublin
  • National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery (2006) Improving the Patient Journey: Understanding Integrated Care Pathways. Dublin
  • National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery (2004) An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Role of the Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialist. Dublin

Recommended Reading (Continued)

  • National Cancer Forum (2006) A Strategy for Cancer Control. DoH&C.The Stationery Office.National Comprehensive Cancer Network Practice Guidelines in Oncology 2007
  • Parris, W.C.V. (1997) Assessment of the cancer pain patient. In W.C.V Parris (Ed.), Cancer Pain Management: Principles and Practice. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Rankin-Box, D. (Ed.) (2001). The Nurses’ Handbook of Complementary Therapies. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Baillière Tindall
  • Richards, M. (2007) The Importance of Psychosocial Oncology in a National Cancer Strategy Keynote Address IPOS 9th World congress, Imperial College, London
  • School of Nursing Strategy 2004-2014 Leading Practice: education, research and innovation DCU
  • Skevington, S. (1995) Psychology of Pain. Chichester: Wiley
  • Sloman, R. (1995). Relaxation and the relief of cancer pain. Nursing Clinics of North America, 30, 697-709
  • Sofaer, B.(1998) Pain: Principles, Practice and Patients. 3rd Ed Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes.
  • Speigel, D., Bloom J., Kraemer HC & Gottheil, E. (1989) Effects of psycho-social treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet, ii, 888-891
  • Spiegel, D. (1996). Cancer and depression. British Journal of Psychiatry, 168 (Suppl.30), 109-116.
  • Spiegel D (Ed) (2000) Group Therapy for Cancer Patients: A Research-based Handbook of Psychosocial Care. New York: Basic Books
  • Solzhenitsyn, A (1971) Cancer Ward. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books
  • Souhami, R. & Tobias, J. (2005). Cancer and Its Management. 5th ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science
  • Surbone, A. & Zwitter, M. (Eds) (1997) Communication with the Cancer Patient: Information and Truth. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Tones, K, Green, J (2004) Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies. London: Sage
  • Turk, D.C. (1996). Biopsychosocial perspectives on chronic pain. In R.J. Gatchel & D.C.Turk (1996). Psychological Approaches to Pain Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook. New York: The Guildford Press
  • Zighelboim, J (2007)To Health ! The New Humanistic Oncology USA www.booksurge.com
  • White P (2005) Biopsychosocial Medicine: an integrated approach to understanding illness. New York: OUP
  • Wilber, K (1991) Grace & Grit. USA: Gill & Macmillan

Web sites:

NCCN Practice Guidelines in Oncology; IASP, NCI, NCR, IPOS, BPOS

Strategy documents:

  • A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland, National Cancer Forum, 2006
  • Psychosocial and Cancer Support Services, 1999
  • Development of Services For Symptomatic Breast Disease. Report of the Sub-Group to The National Cancer Forum (2000)
  • The Women’s Council (2000) Survey of views and perceptions of women who attended symptomatic breast clinics

Relevant articles from journals ( not exclusively) Psycho-Oncology, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; PAIN

Psycho-Oncology :

  • Bultz, BD & Carlson, L (2006) Emotional Distress: The Sixth Vital Sign –future directions in cancer care.Psycho-Oncology 15, 93-95
  • Zabora, J, Brintzenhofeszoc,K., Curbow, B et al. (2001) The prevalence of psychological distress by cancer site Psycho-Oncology 10: 19–28
  • Brennan, J (2001) Adjustment to cancer-coping or personal transition? Psycho-Oncology 10, 1-18
  • Holland, J (2004) IPOS Sutherland Memorial Lecture: an International perspective on the development of psychosocial oncology: overcoming cultural and attitudinal barriers to improve psychosocial care. Psycho-Oncology 13: 445–459.
Programme or List of Programmes
GPOYGraduate Diploma in Psycho-Oncology
MPOYMasters in Psycho-Oncology