Palliative Care Practice: Communication Skills for Conveying Bad News


Added on  2022-10-19

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Disease and DisordersHealthcare and Research
Palliative Care Practice
Institutional Affiliation
Palliative Care Practice: Communication Skills for Conveying Bad News_1

Palliative Care Practice
What skill(s) or situation did you identify for your practice?
Communication plays a significant role in health care profession. Each time, a health
care professional will be required communicate either good news or bad news to the patient or
the family of the patient. Information is considered to be bad when it can change the perception
of the patient about their future life. Sometimes bad news is heartbreaking and it can attract
emotional response from the patient and the family, considering that people want to stay healthy.
From the assigned role play activity, I discovered that I need to focus on verbal and non-verbal
What I wanted to achieve in this role play
My primary goal of participating in this role play was to understand my weaknesses and
the limitations I have in breaking bad news so that I can strengthen them. I understand that in my
future career practice, I will be working with people of diverse cultures. Some of them will be
patients, professionals, and clients that seek my professional services. I also wanted to learn the
effective methods of delivering bad news to people and factors that can affect my efficiency as a
speaker. Even though my focus was on clinical profession in communication practice, I sought
to learn more about interpersonal skills in communicating bad news and how I can improve on
my limitations in communication in my future practice.
The Feedback I received
This role play activity made me aware of communication skills I need to improve on in
my future interactive sessions. I realized that I am poor in listening and verbal skills. My
colleague noted that I did not give him time to speak. During the conversation, I wanted to speak
throughout and whenever he tried to speak, I interrupted him with questions without considering
Palliative Care Practice: Communication Skills for Conveying Bad News_2

that he could contribute to the topic. I was curious about culture of the client, so I asked him
about the Luo tradition of cleansing widows and wife inheritance after the death of the husband.
I had read from the research article in Perry, Oluoch, Agot, Taylor, Onyango, and Corneli
(2014) that Luo women should engage in unprotected sex with after losing their husband for
cleansing. When I interrupted the client with a question on this tradition, he became irritated and
asked me about something else. I also lacked self-confidence when I was speaking with him.
Each time he tried to look at my face, I tended to avoid eye contact. He told me that this could
affect my profession because I will appear to be telling lies even when I am speaking the truth.
The other weakness that my colleague highlighted was on open-mindedness. I was not ready to
be convinced to view the problem from another angle. This is a weakness that I needed to
address because it could affect my relationship with other people.
Even though I had some weaknesses as highlighted above, I also received some positive
complements about my verbal and non-verbal communication skills. For instance, when it was
my turn to lead the role play, I started by introducing myself, explaining the purpose of what we
were going to talk about, and asking the client if he had any fears that he needed to be addressed.
I also appeared knowledgeable in the topic because I was clear in my responses to what the
client asked. In spite of the positive feedback I received from the second activity, my colleague
noted that I was a bit interruptive and was not consistent with my answers. I was questioning
him each time and did not allow him enough time to respond. Sometimes I appeared to know too
much about the topic and took the conversation to a different direction.
What I changed in response to the feedback in a way of doing it more effectively
I made significant changes based on the responses I received. I realized that self-
confidence and ability to understand the topic is what undermined my verbal and non-verbal
Palliative Care Practice: Communication Skills for Conveying Bad News_3

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