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189564 - The Challenging Emotions of Difficult News - Online Activity

Speciality Classification
General Practice ( GP ) / Family Medicine
2.5 hours

The Challenging Emotions of Difficult News is a 2.5-hour, interactive, continuously available, online education activity which participants can complete at their own pace, logging in and out whenever convenient.

Across the spectrum of “difficult news” (e.g. from discussing a treatment that will disrupt a person’s life for a short time to conveying a terminal illness diagnosis), good communication is vital. This activity is an opportunity to exchange ideas on how doctors can communicate difficult news in ways that benefit patient outcomes and doctor wellbeing.

Delivering difficult news is often complex and emotionally charged. No matter how much or how little experience you have had, taking time to upskill and share stories about difficult news benefits both you and your patients.

Relevance to General Practice

Communicating difficult news is one of the most difficult tasks faced by doctors. For example, doctors commonly find it hard to be honest while providing support and enabling hope. Communicating bad news is a substantial source of stress, even for those who do it regularly – especially when they feel inadequately trained. This contributes to professional burnout.

Conveying difficult news is a skilled communication; training and practise can increase a doctor’s confidence, leading to improved communication with patients and reducing levels of stress and burnout.

Learning outcomes
  • Discuss how to appropriately respond to patients’ emotions such as anger, distress and denial.
  • Describe how to optimally manage a family member’s request for information to be withheld from a patient.
  • Explain how to use the NURSE mnemonic to comprehensively and confidently respond to patients’ emotions in an empathic manner.
  • Identify several ways doctors can manage personal emotions associated with communicating difficult news.
  • Domains of General Practice

    D1. Communication skills and the patient-doctor relationship

    • Effective communication is used in challenging situations

    D2. Applied professional knowledge and skills

    D3. Population health and the context of general practice

    D4. Professional and ethical role

    • Personal health and wellbeing is evaluated, maintained and developed

    D5. Organisational and legal dimensions

    Curriculum Contextual Units
    • Adult health
    • Care of older people
    • Children and young people health
    • Doctor's health
    • Oncology and palliative care
    Partnering organisations


    Activity sponsor


    189564 - The Challenging Emotions of Difficult News - Online Activity
    Provider Type
    Education Provider
    2.5 hours
    Start Date
    End Date
    CPD Points
    5 cpd
    Posted By