Discussing Difficult News (Synaptiv)

Course Request

Learning Objectives

  • Delivering difficult news
  • Discussing prognosis
  • Responding to patient reactions

Course Description

Discussing difficult news is an essential skill for clinicians. It can be challenging to convey difficult information, especially when discussing a poor prognosis. Clinicians may feel inadequately prepared to handle these highly emotional situations. This course will provide clinicians with strategies for:

  • Delivering difficult news
  • Handling difficult conversations
  • Responding to patient reactions
  • Discussing a patient’s prognosis

Did you know…

  • In a study of oncologists, nearly 50% rated their own ability to break bad news as poor to fair
  • A study of 400 doctor-patient conversations found that physicians responded to emotionally charged conversations with empathetic language only 25% of the time
  • In a survey of 50 surgical physicians, 93% of respondents believed delivering bad news to be an important skill, but only 43% felt they had the training needed to effectively deliver bad news

Course at a Glance

Target Audience:  Clinicians

Time to Complete: 30 Minutes

Contributor: SynAptiv



Author Information

The Colorado Foundation for Medical Care was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) healthcare quality improvement organization. It currently does business as (DBA) SynAptiv. SynAptiv continues to focus on continuous quality improvement but now works toward its charitable mission in new ways. We are a global healthcare learning institute, offering a variety of educational tools, trainings, certifications, and learning improvement resources for multiple professional settings.