Health Communication Article Summary
Herbert, Hannah D., James N. Butera, George Castillo, and Anthony E. Mega. “Are We Training
Our Fellows Adequately in Delivering Bad News to Patients? A Survey of
Hematology/Oncology Program Directors.” Journal Of Palliative Medicine 12. 12 (2009).
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Web. 12 July 2010.
This article focuses on the importance of physicians having the proper communication skills when delivering bad news to patients and/or the patient’s family. It’s overall goal was to determine the extent of formal training physicians had in delivering bad news and/or if they felt the training was necessary. In order to do this they e-mailed surveys to 124 program directors, with questions specifying the importance, amount of training, and quality of training physicians received on how to deliver bad news to patients and their families. Although the results showed little or no training, the program directors stressed their concerns that there should be more communication training programs to teach physicians how to properly deliver bad news to patients.
According to the article, “giving bad news is not easy, and to do it properly requires good communication skills” (Herbert, pg 1119). Having clear communication, respect, empathy, and so forth are important when delivering bad news in the medical care system. Not only it is it important understand the proper ways in delivering bad news to just the patient, but it is also important know how to discuss bad news with the patients family as well. Unfortunately, according to this articles results, “89% of program directors surveyed reported that they received little to no training during their fellowship” (Herbert, pg 1122). Relaying bad news is not an easy task, it is probably one of the hardest things to do. Only when communication is done effectively can a physician “appropriately discuss prognosis, prescribe treatment, deliver bad news and discuss end-of-life care with...
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