Difficult Conversations: End of Life Communications Workshop

//Difficult Conversations: End of Life Communications Workshop

One Chance to Get it Right

Difficult conversations and breaking bad news to families and patients have been identified as perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of health care and are often associated with the medical practitioner. However, since breaking bad news must be considered a process, including the actual moment of breaking bad news and also all interactions that take place before and after, the nurse/health care professional must be considered an essential part of the process. Unfortunately, health care professionals often gain little experience in difficult conversations prior to qualifying and then are invariably placed in situations where they simply have to do it. This one-day course will allow you to explore the notions of difficult conversations and bad news, highlight ways to communicate when discussing or delivering bad news and offer support to family and patients who have received it. This course is highly interactive, using forum theatre. This approach allows participants to explore and ‘play,’ trying out different ways of communicating and supporting in a safe environment using professional actors.


Course Objectives

  • Consider the notion of ‘a difficult conversation’ and its impact on patients and their families
  • Explore the impact of others and ourselves on those around us through our communication
  • Explore a range of techniques and models for the managing a difficult conversation and the support of those who have received bad news.
  • Using ‘forum theatre’, consider a specific scenario involving a difficult conversation.
  • Have the opportunity, using rehearsal facilitators, to ‘have a go’ at a difficult conversation.

Course Agenda

  • Introductions and meet the actors
  • What is your role when having a difficult conversation?
  • Communication exercises


  • Scenario using forum theatre and actors
  • Reworking the scenario


  • Various models for breaking bad news and difficult conversations
  • Break out groups to “have a go”
  • Feedback and reflection
  • Close