My research is about developing a training program for clinicians to break bad news in fertility care and to consequently offer evidence-based psychological support for patients who undergo fertility treatment.
To realize this goal, I will initially conduct a needs assessment regarding patients’ and clinicians’ preferences for health communication. I further systematically review the literature on existing training courses regarding communicating life-altering information. Understanding the underlying ingredients of successful provider-patient communication will help me to optimally design a training program to enhance the quality of life among patients and clinicians.
Giving up ones’ dream of becoming a (biological) parent and dealing with infertility is viewed as an invisible struggle and associated with an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and relational problems.
Additionally, individuals who are undergoing fertility treatment are repetitively receiving bad news due to low success rates of treatment.
The way how negative news is shared can influence a client’s understanding of medical information, satisfaction with staff, and psychological adjustment. Patients often report receiving too much technical information, and a lack of caring and empathetic attitude by clinicians. In contrast, clinicians report stress and insecurities in sharing life-altering information with their patients. This goes back to the fact that medical education at universities does not cover the required amount of teaching an optimal delivery of bad news to patients.
Therefore, there is an increased need for extra training in breaking bad news to improve the performance of clinicians in patient-centered communication, and to enhance the quality of life (QoL) of patients.