Breaking bad news - an interdisciplinary curricular teaching-concept



PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE


Simmenroth-Nayda A, Alt-Epping B, Gágyor I


Georg August Universität Göttingen, Abteilung Allgemeinmedizin, Göttingen, Deutschland


Breaking bad news - an interdisciplinary curricular teaching-concept


GMS Z Med Ausbild.2011;28(4):Doc52. Epub 2011 Nov 15




The concerns of patients suffering from life-threatening disease and end-of-life care aspects have gained increasing attention in public perception. The increasing focus on palliative medicine questions can be considered to be paradigmatic for this development. Palliative medicine became a compulsory subject of the undergraduate curriculum in Germany to be implemented until 2013. The preexisting conditions and qualifications at the medical faculties vary, though. We describe the conceptual process, didactic background, and first experiences with the new interdisciplinary course "Delivering bad news" as a compulsory part of the palliative medicine curriculum.


Since autumn 2009, this course has been taught at the University Medical Center Göttingen, consisting of two double lessons in the final year of medical education. Considering the curriculum-based learning goals in Göttingen, the focus of this course is to impart knowledge, attitudes and communication skills relating to "bad news".


Although the seminar requires adequate staff and is time-consuming, students have accepted it and gave high marks in evaluations. In particular, the teachers' performance and commitment was evaluated positively.

Discussion and Conclusions:

We describe the first experiences with a new course. Didactic structure, theoretical contents, role-plays and usage of media (film, novel) are well- suited to communicate topics such as "bad news". Additional experiences and evaluations are necessary. According to the progressive nature of learning, it might be worthwhile to repeat communication- centered questions several times during medical studies.


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