What Skills Really Improve After a Flipped Educational Intervention to Train Medical Students and Residents to Break Bad News?

  •  Luciana B. Burg    
  •  Christof J. Daetwyler    
  •  Getúlio R. de Oliveira Filho    
  •  Flávia Del Castanhel    
  •  Suely Grosseman    


Breaking bad news (BBN) is necessary in medical practice and requires training. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and mainly explore the components involved in medical students’ and residents’ performance after a flipped educational intervention to train them to break bad news. A randomized controlled before-after study was conducted with 43 medical students and residents in the intervention group and 41 in the control group. The intervention combined an online multimedia program (DocCom) with a two-hour workshop. BBN performance was assessed at two clinical stations using Objective Structured Clinical Examination and analyzed using a mixed between-within subject analysis of variance. A factor analysis was conducted to analyze the performance by checklist components. The intervention group improved its overall performance in BBN over time (p = 0.000; Eta2 = 0.38) and when compared to the control group (p = 0.01; Eta2 = 0.12). The factor analysis revealed two main components: Factor 1—“giving bad news and responding with empathy”—and Factor 2—“using general communication skills”. Performance analysis by these components revealed that the improvement occurred mainly in Factor 1 (over time, p = 0.000; Eta2 = 0.48, group x time, p = 0.000; Eta2 = 0.38). The intervention combining DocCom Module 33 and a workshop had a moderate effect on the improvement of medical students’ and medical residents’ BBN overall performance in standardized encounters. This improvement was mainly related to communication skills for giving bad news and responding with empathy, in which the intervention effect was large over time and between groups.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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