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Health professionals’ perceptions of breaking bad news

Dickson, David, Hargie, Owen, Brunger, Karen and Stapleton, Karyn (2002) Health professionals’ perceptions of breaking bad news. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 15 (7). pp. 324-336. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1108/09526860210448492


The growth of the “patient-centred” approach to health care has highlighted the importance of quality communication practices. One area that remains problematic, however, is the process of breaking bad news to patients and/or relatives. Hence, there have been calls for more research and training in this domain. Reports the findings of a study that used the critical incident technique to explore the breaking bad news encounter from the perspective of the health care practitioner. In total 33 senior medical and nursing staff reported on situations in which they described specific, vividly recalled, experiences of both “effective” and “ineffective” bad news delivery. These reported incidents were content analysed and a range of key dimensions was identified for both effective and ineffective experiences. Interpersonal communication skills emerged as particularly salient factors and these are discussed in detail, together with implications for future research and training.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Communication
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Communication
Psychology Research Institute > Peace, Conflict and Equality
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:7516
Deposited By: Professor Owen Hargie
Deposited On:19 Jan 2010 10:16
Last Modified:15 Jun 2011 09:56

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