first last

How Should Providers Deliver Bad News?

Neil S. Prose MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology at Duke University Medical Center, and Michael Haglund, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center

Unable to view this video? Read the transcript.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Identify at least three things providers shouldn’t do when delivering bad news.
  • Identify at least three things providers should do when delivering bad news.

Description: Delivering bad news is always a challenging task for providers. But certain communication techniques can make the experience less difficult for the patient and family. You can start by finding a quiet place free of interruptions, making sure all the family members are there, and taking a deep breath to help focus your attention. Then what?

In this video, Dr. Michael Haglund, a Professor of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center, demonstrates how providers should and shouldn’t deliver bad news, based on the work of Dr. Neil S. Prose. Filmed with actors playing the role of the parents of a young child, two versions of the same scene sharply demonstrate the impact of a provider’s verbal and nonverbal communication.

This video was produced by Firestream Media with a grant from the Duke Graduate Medical Education Innovation Fund. For more on how the creators used this video as part of a program on physician-patient communication, read this article in the Journal of Surgical Education.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What did you notice about what the provider did wrong in the first scene? What would you have done differently?
  2. Why do you think it’s important to leave time for the news to sink in? What do you think is going on with the patient or family in this moment?
  3. What do you think are the primary needs of the patient and family when they hear bad news?
  4. Why do you think it’s important to ask permission to give information?
  5. What experiences have you had giving bad news, to a patient or to a friend or family member? What have you learned?
​​​​​
Average Content Rating
(1 user)
Please login to rate or comment on this content.
User Comments