Improving surgical residents' communication in disclosing complications: A qualitative analysis of simulated physician and patient surrogate conversations

Carolina R Branson, Jeffrey G Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In this study, we explore surgical resident communication with simulated patient surrogates (SPs), in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Methods: We use discourse analysis (DA), a qualitative approach to analyzing language, to evaluate our residents' interactions with simulated patient surrogates. After identifying problematic communication patterns, we apply communication theory to discuss our findings and provide suggestions for improvement. Results: Residents consistently use bluntness, defined as delivering the news abruptly and without adequate preface, and evasiveness, defined as avoiding giving the news, to deliver difficult information. In addition, some residents use neutral language when empathetic language is warranted; and some try to direct the response of SPs, who then become defensive. Residents use evasiveness most frequently, followed by bluntness. These delivery methods often result in poor communication. Conclusions: We recommend further research in barriers to effective resident communication with patients, as well as future research on the positive effects of good communication on patient perception. Learning these skills will help residents to convey support and empathy to patients, thereby enhancing care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Volume215
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Disclosure
  • Language
  • Qualitative

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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