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Patient Educ Couns. 2017 Apr;100(4):655-666. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2016.11.008. Epub 2016 Nov 13.

Breaking bad news to patients with cancer: A randomized control trial of a brief communication skills training module incorporating the stories and preferences of actual patients.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, USA. Electronic address: jgorniewicz@gmail.com.
2
Department of Family Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, USA.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study tested the effectiveness of a brief, learner-centered, breaking bad news (BBN) communication skills training module using objective evaluation measures.

METHODS:

This randomized control study (N=66) compared intervention and control groups of students (n=28) and residents' (n=38) objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) performance of communication skills using Common Ground Assessment and Breaking Bad News measures.

RESULTS:

Follow-up performance scores of intervention group students improved significantly regarding BBN (colon cancer (CC), p=0.007, r=-0.47; breast cancer (BC), p=0.003, r=-0.53), attention to patient responses after BBN (CC, p<0.001, r=-0.74; BC, p=0.001, r=-0.65), and addressing feelings (BC, p=0.006, r=-0.48). At CC follow-up assessment, performance scores of intervention group residents improved significantly regarding BBN (p=0.004, r=-0.43), communication related to emotions (p=0.034, r=-0.30), determining patient's readiness to proceed after BBN and communication preferences (p=0.041, r=-0.28), active listening (p=0.011, r=-0.37), addressing feelings (p<0.001, r=-0.65), and global interview performance (p=0.001, r=-0.51).

CONCLUSION:

This brief BBN training module is an effective method of improving BBN communication skills among medical students and residents.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Implementation of this brief individualized training module within health education programs could lead to improved communication skills and patient care.

KEYWORDS:

Breaking bad news; Cancer; Common ground assessment; Communication skills training; Education; Empathy; Narrative; Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE); Qualitative; Stories

PMID:
27876220
PMCID:
PMC5407084
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2016.11.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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