V. Julius, G. McCarthy

An exploratory study of obstetrics trainees' experiences of breaking bad news

  • Review and Exam Preparation
  • General Medicine

AbstractIntroductionBreaking bad news is one of the hardest tasks performed by doctors. The news can significantly impact on the patient's life; however, the process also generates stress for the doctor. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of breaking bad news for obstetrics trainees in Ireland.MethodsA qualitative study using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was performed to capture the experience of breaking bad news for the trainees. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with trainees over Zoom. The transcripts were analysed in line with the IPA framework with the assistance of NVivo software.ResultsSeven trainees were interviewed, five at Basic Specialist Training (BST) level and two at Higher Specialist Training (HST) level. Four superordinate themes were identified from the analysis: “the reality of working in obstetrics,” “the role of the doctor,” “development of communication skills” and “the importance of the patient experience.” The trainees described breaking bad news in a variety of clinical contexts. This task could be emotionally draining; however, only two trainees mentioned ways of coping with this. Their formal training was limited with the majority of learning occurring “on the job.”ConclusionsThis study provides an insight into factors that influence trainees experiences of breaking bad news. The results complemented existing literature and raised questions about how to better support trainees through increased training and psychological support.

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