Evaluation of the training and support received by facilitators of a cancer education and support programme in New Zealand
This study evaluates the training and support provided for facilitators who deliver the Living Well programme. This education and support programme, offered by the Cancer Society of New Zealand since 1991, aims to demystify cancer and its treatments, and develop self-efficacy of cancer patients and their supporters. A purposeful sample of 17 facilitators from five regions across New Zealand participated in semi-structured interviews. Quantitative data on demographics, qualifications and history with the programme were subjected to a frequency analysis. A thematic content analysis was conducted on qualitative data regarding the experiences of the facilitators with the training programme and the level and quality of subsequent support. Facilitators (aged 35–65, 16 of whom were women), came from a variety of socio-economic and educational backgrounds with a significant number having health-related roles and qualifications. Facilitator training was seen as relevant, thorough, effective and good preparation for the demands of the role. The pairing of more experienced staff and volunteers to co-facilitate was a particularly successful aspect of the programme. The main drawbacks were limited access to support, lack of supervision and a perceived lack of appreciation from the organisation for the volunteer facilitators.