Training prostate cancer survivors and caregivers to be peer navigators: a blended online/in-person competency-based training program

Abstract

Purpose

Cancer navigation improves access to support and reduces barriers to care; however, appropriate training of navigators is essential. We developed the TrueNTH Peer Navigation Training Program (PNTP), a competency-based, blended online/in-person course. In this study, we evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the PNTP among prostate cancer (PC) survivors (patients, caregivers).

Methods

We employed an explanatory mixed method study design consisting of course usage data, pre-/post-questionnaires, and focus groups informed by the Kirkpatrick framework and self-efficacy theory.

Results

Three cohorts in two Canadian cities (n = 26) received the PNTP. Participants were motivated to support others like themselves (n = 20), fill a gap (n = 7), pay it forward (n = 6), and offer expertise (n = 4). Recruitment, retention, and questionnaire completion were 96.7%, 89.6%, and 92%. Participants contributed a total of 426 posts to the online forums (2 to 3 posts per participant/module). Satisfaction was 9.4/10 (SD = 0.7) and usability was 84.5/100 (SD = 10.1). All learning outcomes increased: understanding of learning objectives t(23) = − 6.12, p < 0.0001; self-efficacy to perform competencies t(23) = − 4.8, p < 0.0001; and eHealth literacy t(23) = − 4.4, p < 0.0001. Participants viewed the PTNP as intensive but manageable, improving knowledge and confidence and enhancing listening skills. Participants valued the flexibility of online learning, interactive online learning, in-person interactions for relationship building, and authentic role-playing for skill development.

Conclusions

A facilitated online training program with in-person components is a highly acceptable and effective format to train PC survivors to become peer navigators. This competency-based peer navigator training program and delivery format may serve as a useful model for other cancer volunteer programs.

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Acknowledgments

This research was awarded by Prostate Cancer Canada and is proudly funded by the Movember Foundation.

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Correspondence to Jacqueline Lorene Bender.

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Bender, J.L., Flora, P.K., Milosevic, E. et al. Training prostate cancer survivors and caregivers to be peer navigators: a blended online/in-person competency-based training program. Support Care Cancer 29, 1235–1244 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05586-8

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Keywords

  • Peer navigator
  • Prostate cancer
  • Training program
  • Online learning
  • Mixed methods