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A simulation based difficult conversations intervention for neonatal intensive care unit nurse practitioners: A randomized controlled trial

Journal title
PloS one
Publication year
2020
Author(s)
Bowen, R.; Lally, K. M.; Pingitore, F. R.; Tucker, R.; McGowan, E. C.; Lechner, B. E.
Pages
e0229895
Volume
15
Number
3

BACKGROUND: Neonatal nurse practitioners are often the front line providers in discussing unexpected news with parents. This study seeks to evaluate whether a simulation based Difficult Conversations Workshop for neonatal nurse practitioners leads to improved skills in conducting difficult conversations. METHODS: We performed a randomized controlled study of a simulation based Difficult Conversations Workshop for neonatal nurse practitioners (n = 13) in a regional level IV neonatal intensive care unit to test the hypothesis that this intervention would improve communication skills. A simulated test conversation was performed after the workshop by the intervention group and before the workshop by the control group. Two independent blinded content experts scored each conversation using a quantitative communication skills performance checklist and by assigning an empathy score. Standard statistical analysis was performed. RESULTS: Randomization occurred as follows: n = 5 to the intervention group, n = 7 to the control group. All participants were analyzed in each group. Participation in the simulation based Difficult Conversations Workshop increases participants' empathy score (p = 0.015) and the use of communication skills (p = 0.013) in a simulated clinical encounter. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that a lecture and simulation based Difficult Conversations Workshop for neonatal nurse practitioners improves objective communication skills and empathy in conducting difficult conversations.

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