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The Basic Documentation for Psycho-Oncology (PO-Bado) is a semi-directive instrument for assessing psychosocial difficulties in cancer patients. It is based on subjective status and not on degree of symptom severity. Our objectives were to assess whether use of the PO-Bado during post-cancer-diagnosis consultations improves the quality of communication by establishing a supportive relationship between nurses and patients and to assess nurses' satisfaction of their communication skills.Data were collected from post-diagnosis ‘bad-news’ consultations across four Cancer treatment centres in South West France. Eleven nurses who had never used the PO-Bado (‘inexperienced group’) received training on the instrument (short-form). Twenty-one pre-training consultations without the PO-Bado were recorded and compared with 21 post-training consultations with the PO-Bado. Twenty consultations with four nurses with experience using the PO-Bado (‘experienced group’) were included for between-group comparisons. Nurses' satisfaction was evaluated through semi-directive consultations at the end of the study and completed by a visual analogue scale.We transcribed and analysed 62 consultations. We observed greater use of techniques encouraging patient expression in consultations with PO-Bado-experienced nurses (p< 0.01); after PO-Bado training for ‘inexperienced’ nurses (p< 0.05) and less use of non-encouraging techniques after PO-Bado training for ‘inexperienced’ nurses (p< 0.01). Nurses felt more satisfied with their communications skills after PO-Bado training and stated that they felt more competent, particularly for referrals to psychologists.The PO-Bado is beneficial for the quality of the communication between nurses and patients at bad-news delivery consultations and for the satisfaction of nurses with regard to their relational skills.