Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2018 - 14

m E d i C a l r E C o r d F E at u r E

Difficult Conversations:

Discussing Cognition-Related
Performance Declines
with the Physician
by Marcia A. Lammando, RN, BSN, MHSA
Director, LifeGuard Program

D

ifficult conversations in today's healthcare environment
are more the norm than the exception. Physicians are
typically the ones giving patients bad news; however, as
the physician population continues to age, they are increasingly
on the receiving end of these conversations. Physicians may be
experiencing concerns (either their own or those of peers and
co-workers) with their abilities to continue the practice of their
chosen profession. In certain instances, physicians may have to
make difficult decisions regarding modifications in their careers -
or in more extreme cases, retirement from a life-long, hard-earned
calling.
Physicians have spent their entire adult lives in educational
endeavors preparing for their professional service. They have
provided countless hours to the medical community, often at the
sacrifice of their personal lives. But, as research has indicated,
even physicians may experience declines in cognition due to a
medical event or simply through the aging process. When these
declines are suspected, the physician may be the subject of an
assessment which may result in outcomes that are not conducive
to the physician continuing in his/her current practice settings -
or practice at all.
An unwelcome assessment outcome generally culminates
in a peer or administrator having a difficult conversation
with the physician about the next horizon in his/her career.
When discussing such an outcome with a physician, the peer
or administrator should employ a unique approach. A few
techniques to consider when having these conversations:

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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2018

Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2018 - 1
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