Breaking bad news: A communication competency for ophthalmology training programs.

Hilkert SM, Cebulla CM, Jain SG, Pfeil SA, Benes SC, Robbins SL
Surv Ophthalmol 61 791-798 11/01/2016

Abstract

As the ophthalmology accreditation system undergoes major changes, training programs must evaluate residents in the 6 core competencies, including appropriately communicating bad news. Although the literature is replete with recommendations for breaking bad news across various non-ophthalmology specialties, no formal training programs exist for ophthalmology. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from our colleagues regarding this important skill. We examine the historic basis for breaking bad news, explore current recommendations among other specialties, and then evaluate a pilot study in breaking bad news for ophthalmology residents. The results of this study are limited by a small number of residents at a single academic center. Future studies from multiple training programs should be conducted to further evaluate the need and efficacy of formal communication skills training in this area, as well as the generalizability of our pilot training program. If validated, this work could serve as a template for future ophthalmology resident training and evaluation in this core competency.

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