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Pilot Study of a Condensed Communication Skills Workshop for Gynecologic Oncology Fellows

Purpose: Implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a newly condensed, previously piloted communication workshop in a cohort of gynecologic oncology (GO) fellows.

Background: In GO fellowship, devoting sufficient time to learn communication skills can be challenging due to the time and logistics required. A two day workshop was previously piloted at a single institution with GOs and found to be beneficial. We sought to disseminate that curriculum in a condensed form.

Methods: We conducted two four-hour sessions with 4 GO fellows over 4 months. Sessions consisted of a didactic in communication skills led by faculty with VitalTalk© training, followed by application with a simulated patient. Cases were developed and previously used in a two-day workshop at another institution. Fellows were surveyed prior to both sessions and after the second session.  Perceived confidence was assessed on a Likert scale (1 to 5). An improvement was defined by an increase of ≥1 in Likert score.

Results: All fellows reported that the educational quality of the sessions was “excellent,” that the time in between sessions was “just right,” allowing them to apply skills learned in the first session prior to the second. After both sessions, at least three of the four fellows reported an improvement in confidence in nearly 50% (10/21) of the topics (Table 1).

Table 1**

Name the key steps of delivering serious news

Bring up advance care planning

Elicit a patient’s goals of care from a patient or family member

Lead a family conference

Manage conflict that arises during a family meeting

Describe comfort-focused care

Respond to patients or family members who have not accepted the seriousness of the patient’s illness

Discuss religious or spiritual issues with a patient or family member

Counsel a patient or family member about what to expect in the dying process

Teach and mentor learners about how to facilitate delivering serious news

**Areas in which ≥75% of fellows reported an improvement in confidence (at least ≥1 increase in level of confidence)

Discussions: GO fellows perceived improvements in communication skills with condensed half-day training seminars.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2019, Faculty, Medical Knowledge, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, GME, Standardized Patient, Gynecologic Oncology,

General Information

Medical Knowledge,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Standardized Patient,
Clinical Focus
Gynecologic Oncology,

Author Information

Renata Urban, MD, University of Washington School of Medicine; Emily Fay, MD; Lisa Podgurski, MD; Elise Carey, MD; Carolyn Lefkowits, MD, MPH, MS; Josephine Amory,MD

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