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Prog Palliat Care. 2011 Jul 1;19(4):172-176.

Sharing atrocity stories in hospice: A study of niceness message strategies in interdisciplinary team meetings.

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  • 1Markey Cancer Center & Department of Communication, University of Kentucky, 800 Rose Street, Lexington KY 40536, .


The telling of atrocity stories offers therapeutic benefits to healthcare providers. Transcripts of hospice interdisciplinary team (IDT) meetings were used to analyze strategies for telling atrocity stories in the performance of symbiotic niceness through criticism. Symbiotic niceness draws upon niceness messages to establish reciprocal niceness by others in order to facilitate emotional labor. In IDT meetings the two predominant strategy types used were indirect and direct criticism. Nurses and medical directors engaged in niceness message strategies mostly about patients and other healthcare professionals. The study concludes that hospice IDT meetings are a venue for team members to communicate symbiotic niceness through emotional labor.

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