That was a game changer: Clinical impact of an emergency department-based palliative care communication skills training workshop

Rebecca Wright, Bradley Hayward, Emmett Kistler, Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Corita Grudzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore the impact of an adapted goals-of-care communications skills workshop created for ED physicians from the physicians' perspective. Methods: Semi-structured, one-on-one audio-recorded interviews lasting 30-60 min were conducted with twelve physicians who had completed the training workshop. Interviews explored the experience of undertaking the workshop, its impact on their clinical practice and their ability to teach new skills to other clinicians using learnt techniques. Descriptive content analysis was performed on interview transcripts. Results: Participants reported positive experiences of the workshop. The analysis identified four main themes and ten subthemes dealing with workshop content and its impact on subsequent ED-based clinical practice. There were: 1) value and future improvements for the course; 2) value of the course to practice; 3) value of the course for teaching residents and 4) barriers to application of learning. Specifically recommended components include the use of mnemonics, mechanisms to introduce difficult conversations and a positive feedback environment. Participant-recommended refinements to the workshop included emphasising urgency, replicating the chaotic ED environment and expanding content to include more ED-focused goals-of-care discussions. Conclusion: A short, focused training workshop directed at improving palliative care communication skills among ED clinicians appears to be welcomed and useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-264
Number of pages3
JournalEmergency Medicine Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • communications
  • education
  • education methods
  • emergency department
  • qualitative research
  • Clinical Competence
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palliative Care
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Emergency Medicine/education
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Inservice Training
  • Communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine


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