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Perspective and controversy| Volume 95, ISSUE 8, P1589-1593, August 2020

A “Three-Stage Protocol” for Serious Illness Conversations

Reframing Communication in Real Time
      As trainees in nephrology and general surgery navigating serious illness conversations, we understood that our words carried lasting consequences. Although we intended to choose our words carefully — using the mnemonics we had learned to deliver “bad news” and rehearsing planned phrases — in practice, our conversations seldom went as smoothly as we hoped. Instead, we might forget what to say next, or our statements might be met with blank stares. Why did this happen? What could we do?
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