Our new app takes a fresh approach: think of it as a stack of flashcards with handy phrases, sorted by topic. You can use it as a handy pocket reference. But the app does also does something unique: it sends you a daily notification about a new skill to try! Swipe on the daily notification to see that day's tip, and then tap on the card to get a link to the reference. It's a sleek way to build your communication superpowers.
A VitalTalk extra from the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2016 meeting in Chicago: two must-read articles--an editorial to send your oncology friends in JAMA, & one by a VitalTalk alum in the New York Times (Tim Gilligan writes about what to ask patients about prognosis) followed by a tip about how to know when you shouldn't ask another question.
How can you stay present in a challenging encounter? It's not a matter of forcing yourself--in fact, what helps is quite different: you step back for a moment, regain your footing, and step back in.
Understanding just 3 elements of family functioning can enable you to be much more effective in the setup and followup to a complex family conference. You'll need to be fluent in the communication skills for serious illness that we've discussed earlier--but these 3 elements open up new tools. For those of you who have ever wondered about how to think about a complex family (i.e. all of us!).
When you are with a patient whose emotions are running high, acknowledging their emotion by naming it can help that person move forward in the conversation. But there are pitfalls with naming too - see what we recommend to make your NURSE statements more effective!
Trying for the perfect phrase? Going for perfect sometimes has a paradoxical effect--try tinkering instead! Then, track the effects of your communication experiments. And if you're in Chicago at #hpm16, say hello!
Have you ever asked a patient what they're hoping for, and they reply: "I'm hoping for a cure". When your medical judgment tells you that a cure isn't in the cards? The first time this happened to me, I didn't quite know what to reply: "Uh, well, i'm feeling like i wished i hadn't asked that question?" Not so good. Fortunately, there is something you can say: in fact, you can align with your patient, and even keep the conversation moving forward. Check it out... With special thanks to the Vitaltalkers we met in Copenhagen!
In the process of cultivating prognostic awareness, you'll hear patients (& families) swing from extreme to extreme. What to do? (Hint: it's about your own reactivity...). A tip of my hat to Vicki Jackson for this one! Check out her terrific communication guide on prognostic awareness.