Ep. 36 – 3 Tips to Make Difficult Conversations Easier (& learn from my mistakes!)

A reality of working in oncology is bad news, including progression, dying, & death. Less than 2 months after I started practicing, I had my first experience with bad news like this, & I handled it horribly. No exaggeration. Ultimately, the patient didn’t return to physical therapy, I believe largely because of how poorly I handled this bad news. So learn from my mistakes! Difficult conversations aren’t easy, but these 3 tips can make them go more smoothly.

2:36 My first terminal diagnosis conversation (& how it went horribly wrong)

11:00 My 3 tips on making these difficult conversations easier

  • Take a breath.
  • Remember – it’s okay not to know what to say.
  • Be present in the moment.

14:38 Bonus suggestions for these difficult conversations

  • Get feedback from a colleague or mentor on how you did with the conversation.
  • Follow-up with the patient.

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