The program for Interpersonal Communication And Relationship Enhancement (I*CARE) is a continuing education program for both clinical and research faculty, nurses, physician assistants and other health care professionals. The award-winning program, created and developed by Walter F. Baile, M.D. and the late Robert Buckman, M.D., Ph.D., assists in sharpening the communication skills necessary to manage challenging patient and family encounters. I*CARE is part of the Faculty & Academic Development Department.
Most cancer clinicians have not had the opportunity to develop their skills in managing difficult patient encounters such as those where there are strong emotions, stressed families or uncomfortable conversations when transitioning a patient to palliative care or discussing end of life. Oncology providers want to extend their role beyond treating disease to establishing a therapeutic and supportive alliance with the patient and family.
Walter F. Baile, M.D., program director, has refined the techniques of teaching communication skills to include video and other media. Baile believes “communication is the cornerstone of comprehensive cancer care... it allows oncology clinicians to build meaningful relationships with their patients.” He has brought his talents in teaching communication skills to many parts of the world and has published extensively in the area of oncology communication.
Rhea Herrington has been in nursing for over 20 years; including Critical Care and Nursing Education. She has extensive experience in working with patients, families and staff in difficult communication and end-of-life issues. As an End-of-Life Nursing Consortium Core (ELNEC) trainer, she participates in teaching the ELNEC Core Curriculum to nurses in the Houston Area. She also coordinates workshops for critical care nurses on challenging conversations in the ICU. She is an active board member of the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (HGCC-AACN) and helps develop educational offerings and certification review courses for local Critical Care Nurses and students.