Anatomy of Difficult Conversations

This week, we discuss the anatomy of a difficult conversation. We discuss the impact of delaying or avoiding a difficult conversation and explore what makes some conversations more difficult than others. We discuss how our emotions play a role in our interactions with patients and how we can cope with these emotions to improve patient care. We also discuss why healthcare workers must identify the difference between their feelings and their patients’ emotions and the steps we can take to set clear, healthy boundaries between our emotions and those of our patients.

Everyone dreads difficult conversations. But at some point in our career, regardless of our job title or description, we all face the challenge of having difficult conversations with our patients. And it’s not just doctors. Sometimes difficult things can become easier if we deconstruct them. Taking the mystery and fear out of what they are can help us cope better and become better at having these conversations with others.

“All progress lies at the end of an unpleasant conversation.”
– Mitch Winkler

This week on Cancer Covered:

  • Why healthcare workers shouldn’t avoid having difficult conversations with their patients
  • What makes some conversations more difficult than others
  • The two key emotional components that cause people to dread difficult conversations
  • Understanding empathy and compassion
  • Understanding and setting boundaries between your emotions and the patient’s emotions

Resources Mentioned:

Book: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Ron McMillan, Joseph Grenny, Al Switzler, and Kerry Patterson

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