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Start Date

8-5-2020 12:00 AM

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Communication and Media Studies

Advisor

Maureen Ebben, PhD

Abstract

Medical professionals receive extensive education and training, but many of these professionals have not received training or education in communication. Effective providerpatient communication is essential to the formation of a strong, medically trustworthy relationship. Medical professionals’ core clinical skills are communicative. They must be able to gather information for an accurate diagnosis, give salubrious instruction, and, most importantly, establish a responsible relationship with patients. A provider’s interpersonal and communication skills are essential for delivering high-quality healthcare. This research asks, how do healthcare practitioners learn to communicate effectively with patients about serious health illnesses (e.g., cancer, terminal illness) when it is not part of their formal training? Using in-depth, qualitative interviews with 5 health care professionals, I explore provider-patient communication about palliative, end-of-life care. In addition, I use auto-ethnography to reflect on and analyze my own communicative experiences in healthcare settings that deal with serious health issues. Results show that in order to have a successful conversation with the patient concerning end-of-life, the medical provider must provide emotional support, promote shared decision making, treat the patient with respect, and listen to and respect the patient's wants. By taking the mystic away from death, end-of-life care communication becomes a conversation about empowerment and choice.

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Taylor Dyer Presentation Transcript

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May 8th, 12:00 AM

An Exploration of Medical Professional-Patient Communication about End-of-Life Care

Medical professionals receive extensive education and training, but many of these professionals have not received training or education in communication. Effective providerpatient communication is essential to the formation of a strong, medically trustworthy relationship. Medical professionals’ core clinical skills are communicative. They must be able to gather information for an accurate diagnosis, give salubrious instruction, and, most importantly, establish a responsible relationship with patients. A provider’s interpersonal and communication skills are essential for delivering high-quality healthcare. This research asks, how do healthcare practitioners learn to communicate effectively with patients about serious health illnesses (e.g., cancer, terminal illness) when it is not part of their formal training? Using in-depth, qualitative interviews with 5 health care professionals, I explore provider-patient communication about palliative, end-of-life care. In addition, I use auto-ethnography to reflect on and analyze my own communicative experiences in healthcare settings that deal with serious health issues. Results show that in order to have a successful conversation with the patient concerning end-of-life, the medical provider must provide emotional support, promote shared decision making, treat the patient with respect, and listen to and respect the patient's wants. By taking the mystic away from death, end-of-life care communication becomes a conversation about empowerment and choice.

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