As a physician, one of the challenges you might have frequently encountered is the uncomfortable task of breaking bad news. Formal medical education does not sufficiently offer practical steps on dealing with the emotionally challenging aspects of informing patients about a saddening piece of news.
Bad news is often associated with uncertainty and an extremely uncomfortable situation. In the absence of proper training to handle the task in a mature manner, physicians are at a risk of disengaging from the emotional bond they share with their patients.
However, making an informed attempt to breaking sad news will surely pave the way towards an easy decision-making process for you and your patient. As a competent physician you must ensure that your approach to breaking unfavorable news is frank and direct, while also incorporating a sense of empathy. At times, the successful delivery of sad news necessitates formal training in communication. This ensures that the satisfaction of the patient as well as the comfort of the physician is addressed.
Breaking Bad News is Stressful and Consoling Advice Helps
Even a professional attempt to break unfavorable news can create considerable stress. It is important for you, as the physician to be patient and understanding towards the concerns of your patients. This explains why physicians might find it especially difficult to break bad news during early stages of their career.
Further, when patients who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses like cancer have to be informed about their state of health, patients might make care delivery more complicated because of their emotional concerns.
It is important to know that patients must be informed about the true state of their illness regardless of their reaction. In this respect, when physicians are open, patients are more likely to make better decisions.
Ethical Aspects for Effective Medical Decision Making
Physicians must know about ethical aspects in patient care. Some aspects like patient autonomy and informed consent must be taken into consideration so that bad news is conveyed effectively.
It is imperative for physicians to avoid all attempts of deceiving patients about their health condition. In doing so, physicians must ensure that they are not insensitive and abstain from conveying bad news bluntly.
Such attempts to deliver bad news might lead to hopelessness or have negative implications on the patient’s emotional health and might lead to ethical concerns.
By delivering bad news to patients using an informed and empathetic approach, physicians can ensure that their patients respond well to care, which will help them achieve far better clinical outcomes.