The Art of Giving a Cancer Patient Bad News


About the Course
Though the majority of people diagnosed with cancer today become long-term survivors, there are still many who do not and are forced to succumb to their disease. Telling a patient that they have advanced cancer, progression of the disease, little treatment options left, and/or it is time to seriously discuss Hospice care, results in anxiety for the person expected to be giving that news. Communication training is limited in medical and nursing schools for having such a conversation. Yet, we know from clinical research that patients want honesty, always. 

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, the learner will be able to:

  • Learn the primary reasons why healthcare professionals working in oncology have difficulty giving bad news.
  • Understand the value of creating and maintaining an honest relationship between the patient and their treatment team.
  • Identify the negative outcomes when giving bad news is delayed or information is overly optimistic.
  • Identify ways to give patients with advanced cancers an ability to gain control over their lives.
  • Identify at least 6 of the 9 elements to be successfully fulfilled by the patient to experience a good and peaceful death.

Resolution of Conflict of Interest
Colibri Healthcare, LLC implemented mechanisms prior to the planning and implementation of the continuing education activity, to identify and resolve conflicts of interest for all individuals in a position to control content of the course activity.

Sponsorship/Commercial Support and Non-Endorsement
It is the policy of Colibri Healthcare, LLC not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

The information provided in this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.

©2022: All Rights Reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without the expressed written permission or consent of Colibri Healthcare, LLC. The materials presented in this course are meant to provide the consumer with general information on the topics covered. The information provided was prepared by professionals with practical knowledge of the areas covered. It is not meant to provide medical, legal, or professional advice. Colibri Healthcare, LLC recommends that you consult a medical, legal, or professional services expert licensed in your state. Colibri Healthcare, LLC has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that all content provided in this course is accurate and up to date at the time of printing, but does not represent or warrant that it will apply to your situation nor circumstances and assumes no liability from reliance on these materials. Quotes are collected from customer feedback surveys. The models are intended to be representative and not actual customers.

About the Presenter
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS., MAS, HON- ONN-CG

Lillie Shockney is well-known in the cancer field, especially in navigation, survivorship, patient centered care, preservation of quality of life, end-of-life planning and care, improving the cancer patient’s experience, and clinical outcomes. She clinically specializes in breast cancer care. Her public speaking, literary work, and notable roles she has held over the last 40+ years are known to many. A two-time breast cancer survivor, originally diagnosed in her 30s, Ms. Shockney has worked tirelessly to improve the care of breast cancer patients around the world. She takes great pride in the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN), which as of April 2020 has more than 8,900 members and currently serves on 28 medical advisory boards. Ms. Shockney has served as a consultant for breast cancer for national ABC News and Good Morning America and has been also consulted regularly by the Today Show and CNN. Ms. Schokney has worked at Johns Hopkins since 1983. Her research area of focus is preservation of quality of life for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Currently, a documentary is being made about her life and her life’s work. She tells people she never forgets where she came from—she will always be “a farmer’s daughter.”

Content Reviewer
June Thompson, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAEN

Dr. Thompson has a long history of working in emergency care and in the community.  She holds a doctoral degree in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology and health services administration.  Dr. Thompson has held academic positions at the Ohio State University, the University of Texas, and the University of New Mexico. 

Course ID: 41510