Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Deanna Sellnow


Effective communication is just one of the many skill sets nursing students must master to be effective in their field. A nurse’s role goes far beyond that of medical care. In addition, Today’s nurses should be equipped with a working knowledge of medical management, communication skills, ethical/legal issues, end-of-life care, and team collaboration, among others (e.g., Ferrell, Dahlin, Campbell, Paice, Malloy, & Virani, 2007).Wittenberg-Lyles, Goldsmith, Sanchez-Reilly, and Ragan (2010) contend nurses need to have specialized training protocols focused on developing effective communication skills . The current study employed one such protocol, the COMFORT curriculum, as a tool to teach nursing students how to break bad news (BBN) using a social cognitive theory approach. To clarify, when individuals feel confident about their abilities (self-efficacy), they are more likely to reach their goals (Bandura, 1986). Hence, this study posited that nursing students would become more confident about their communication knowledge and skills through the modeling and interactive adaptive learning exercises taught in the COMFORT curriculum. Although no significant increase was reported by students with regard to perceived self-efficacy or attitude about communication skills training, students did demonstrate sufficient to excellent cognitive understanding of the communication skills taught in the lesson.

Included in

Communication Commons