What You’ll Learn

Learn best practices for having patient-centered conversations about a serious illness diagnosis. These discussions are the foundation of building a trusting clinician-patient relationship.

Learning outcomes for this course include:

  1. Identify three steps to prepare a patient to hear serious news.
  2. Discuss the use of a headline sentence to deliver the news.
  3. Describe two methods to approach patient and caregiver emotions.

What You’ll Earn

Only CAPC members who are logged in can earn the following free Continuing Education Credits:

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • Case Management: 1.00 CE
  • Nursing: 0.75 CNE
  • Social Work: 1.00 CE (NASW)
  • Social Work: 1.00 CE (NYSED)

To take this course, log in. Or, check here to see if your organization is a member.


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Tools & Resources

Discussing Serious News Best Practices

A stepwise approach for all members of the health care team to guide conversations with patients about serious news.

VitalTalk - Quick Guides

One-page guides with actionable tips for conversations with patients with serious illness. Free to download, print and share with others.

Empathetic Responses Guide

This resource provides practical samples of empathic responses to use in conversations with patients and families, as well as template responses to challenging questions. Developed by VitalTalk.

Discussing Serious News Course References

List of course citations.

Robert Arnold, MD. Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine; Medical Director, UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute; Director, Institute for Doctor-Patient Communication; Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Board of Directors, VitalTalk

Anthony Back, MD. Co-Founder, VitalTalk; Co-Director, Center for Excellence in Palliative Care, University of Washington

Kacey Boyle, RN, MSPC, CHPN. Palliative Care Specialist, The University of Vermont Medical Center

Constance Dahlin, MSN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN. Consultant, Center to Advance Palliative Care

Andrew E. Esch, MD, MBA. Senior Education Advisor, Center to Advance Palliative Care

Jonathan Fischer, MD. Palliative Medicine Specialist, Associate Consulting Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Duke Health

Katie Grogan, DMH, MA. Associate Director, Clinical Education, Center to Advance Palliative Care

Kristin Martin, MS. Instructional Designer, Center to Advance Palliative Care

Sherika Newman, DO. Associate Medical Director, CenterWell Primary Care Anywhere-Georgia*

Caroline Cruickshank, BSN, RN. George Washington University Hospital

Sophie Rotax, BSN, RN. George Washington University Hospital

Elizabeth Jurczak, LMSW. University of Connecticut School of Social Work

*indicates ABIM Peer Reviewer

Kriota Willberg, MFA-IA, LMT, CAPC Artist-in-Residence

Contact information: For answers to frequently asked questions about CAPC courses, read the Online Course FAQ. For technical questions about course activity, email [email protected]. For questions about continuing education credits, contact 201-957-0077.

Provided by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Discussing Prognosis With Patients and Caregivers

Course 2 of 5

Learn how to effectively discuss prognosis with patients and their caregivers.

Clarifying Patient Goals of Care

Course 3 of 5

Learn best practices for building trust, eliciting patient values, and having patient-centered conversations about goals of care.

Leading a Patient and Caregiver Meeting

Course 4 of 5

Learn to effectively lead meetings that help patients and caregivers become aligned around the patient’s goals.

View all courses in the unit

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