American Medical Association
Communicating with patients who have life-threatening illnesses is a core medical skill. Often after watching an experienced attending physician guide a patient through the transition from disease-modifying treatment to end-of-life care, students assume that this expertise comes naturally. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, end-of-life communication skills require deliberate intent, practice and reflective work - little of which can be detected by watching a master. An expert skier can make a black diamond run look easy; expert communicators can make difficult conversations look simple.