Art of Caring
Reading Ourselves, Reading Others: Teaching Perspective Taking in Palliative Medicine
Kathryn B. Kirkland, MD
I’ve been surprised by how often new hospice and palliative medicine fellows are unprepared for the range of responses their patients have when they are the recipients of bad news. It seems self-evident that there are many ways of reacting to difficult situations, and yet, after years of medical school and clinical training, new fellows seem surprised when confronted by reactions that differ from what they expect. In response, they often speak of what their own emotional responses to such news would be. The fellows expect the patient to react the way they think they would, and when the patient doesn’t, they are surprised and often have no idea how to proceed.