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Pediatrics. 1999 Jun;103(6 Pt 1):1210-7.

Communicating bad news: a pediatric department's evaluation of a simulated intervention.

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  • 1Office of Medical Education, Children's National Medical Center, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.



To determine if pediatric residents and emergency department (ED) fellows could improve their ability to counsel and inform standardized patients (SPs) about bad news.


A crossover, self-controlled design in which trainees were their own control individuals, and SPs provided feedback after the first interview. The setting was the consultation room in the ED of a large children's hospital. The outcome measures included examining the counseling and informing skills of study participants.


Trainees improved their informing skills after being provided feedback in the broad areas of communication and follow-up and in the total number of content areas asked. Their counseling skills improved in two areas: 1) promoting more trust and 2) making parents feel less dependent. Those trainees who scored higher on counseling skills discussed more total and critical content issues with SPs in the study. Trainee feedback revealed a very high rating of the educational process, and the trainees also felt much more confident about their skills after the first and second sessions.


Using SPs to teach residents and ED fellows to give bad news is an effective educational process that provides trainees with interactions that simulate real-life experience

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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