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Activity description

181365 - Clinical Communication Skills

Health Education Australia Ltd & Australasian Institute of Clinical Governance

This workshop aims to equip participants with the communication skills required to disclose bad news and manage difficult conversations with patients and their families. It will provide reflective and experiential learning opportunities to support GPs during challenging and complex communication scenarios such as discussing the likely terminal nature of a condition with a patient, talking with a family that has lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, talking with a family member of a patient who has been certified as brain dead and discussing a diagnosis of Anencephalic Foetus with a pregnant woman. The workshop will assist participants to recognise and respond appropriately to the emotions felt by patients/family members in such contexts and to communicate honest reassurance and hope in accordance with the clinical situation.

Relevance to General Practice

The workshop is offered to doctors whose background is not English speaking and who have or may choose, general practice as their pathway. The skills taught here are to improve communication with patients or patients’ families. Participants develop awareness of the impact of a doctor’s communication choices on the patient, on the direction of the interaction and on the outcome of a consultation. The important role of an empathic approach in these challenging scenarios is examined and the skills to effectively communicate empathy are developed. The activity encourages doctors to reflect on their interactions with patients in the context of classroom role-plays with the aim of reflection in real-world practice. It provides knowledge and skills to boost the doctor’s confidence to communicate effectively if faced with such difficult situations in their own practice.

Learning outcomes

  1. Implement the principles of disclosure of bad news to patients and family members relevant to presenting medical context.
  2. Use a simple communication framework as a guide for breaking bad news and engaging in difficult conversations with patients and family members.
  3. Use language and other empathic skills such as silence, gaze, gesture and body language to offer empathic responses that resonates accurately with the patient's emotions and feelings.
  4. Assess and tailor communication to patient's presentation ensuring a patient-centred approach to the consultation.

Domains of General Practice

D1. Communication skills and the patient-doctor relationship
D2. Applied professional knowledge and skills
D3. Population health and the context of general practice
D4. Professional and ethical role
D5. Organisational and legal dimensions

Curriculum Contextual Units

  • Adult health
  • Care of older people
  • Oncology and palliative care
  • Psychological health
  • Sexual and reproductive health

Session summary


Friday 24 April 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm


Granville TAFE, 136 William St Granville NSW






All attendees welcome

Target Audience

GPs and practice team

For more information contact...

Mark Dare
T: +61396423450