Study on breaking bad news to patients among physicians of Kerman University of Medical Sciences


Alireza Ghaffari Nejad 1 , * , Pouria Salari 2 , Ali Mirza Zadeh 2

1 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Kerman University Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

2 General Practitioner, Kerman University Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

How to Cite: Ghaffari Nejad A, Salari P, Mirza Zadeh A. Study on breaking bad news to patients among physicians of Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Hormozgan Med J. 2006 ; 10(2):e89817.


Hormozgan Medical Journal: 10 (2); e89817
Published Online: July 05, 2006
Article Type: Research Article
Received: November 30, 2004
Accepted: July 05, 2006


Introduction: Breaking bad news to patients is one of the physician’s most
difficult duties. Yet medical education typically offers little formal preparation for
this difficult task. Previous studies showed patients generally desire frank and
empathetic disclosure of serious illnesses and bad news. In this study we study
how physicians of Kerman university of medical sciences break bad news to their
Methods: In this descriptive study, a questionnaire including demographic data,
questions regarding information about how physicians give bad news and the
emotional support that they provide to patients and questions addressing the
environmental aspects of giving bad news in the office was sent to 75 randomly
selected physicians. After assessing the validity and reliability of questions,
questionnaire was given to physicians and the results were analyzed using
descriptive statistics.
Results: Of 75 questionnaires, 44 were returned. The responding physicians were
29 men and 15 women with mean age of 39.08±8.61 and 8.21±6.59 years
duration of practice respectively. They are more concerned about emotional
support than environmental support when they gave bad news to their patients.
There were no statistical relationships between physicians scores of emotional and
environmental support during breaking bad news and their sex, marital status and
duration of their practice.
Conclusion: Without proper training the discomfort and uncertainty associated
with breaking bad news may lead physicians to emotionally disengage from
patients. Providing undergraduate and postgraduate education could help
physicians to do better in hard situations of breaking bad news.



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