Practice educators and mentors are now expected to have the skills and techniques needed to implement a ‘learning skills through simulation’ program into established curricula, yet using simulation to teach while of huge importance – requires careful and time-consuming planning. This valuable resource takes away some of that burden by providing clear, ready-made activities and guidance from leading practitioners in a range of fields, which healthcare and practice educators and mentors can use to enhance their teaching of all the essential and commonly-taught clinical and management skills and knowledge.

Dedicated chapters, which all follow a defined step-by-step format, provide simulation scenarios, alongside facilitator guidance, which will help develop confidence in the teaching of key skills such as:

Drug administration; Conflict management; Infection control; Breaking bad news; Catheter and bowel care

These scenarios and accompanying guidance can be used as a framework for teaching, promoting a greater understanding of the skill being taught, and providing a risk-free opportunity for the student to practice their clinical and managerial skills and judgment.

Breaking Bad News/Dealing with Difficult Conversations

Breaking bad news/dealing with difficult conversations


The aim of this chapter is to offer practical advice to help the healthcare professional sensitively manage difficult situations when breaking bad news.


  • To gain an understanding of the importance of this topic in healthcare curricula
  • To develop strategies to better deal with the issue of breaking bad news to a patient or relative.


The difficulties of telling another human being something unpleasant or distressing - in modern parlance ‘breaking bad news’ - have been with us since time immemorial. The ancient Greeks were prone to ‘killing the messenger’ if displeased with the message (Clemens and Mayer, 1999). Fortunately this practice has long been abandoned but the need for people, and especially healthcare professionals, to be skilled ...

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