The Second Conversation project improving training in end-of-life care communication among junior doctors

 Junior doctors describe a need for greater support and training in end of life care (EoLC) communication skills. The Second Conversation project was designed by a multi-professional steering group as a workplace based training intervention for junior doctors to improve their skills and confidence in undertaking EoLC conversations. Qualitative interviews were carried out with 11 junior doctors and five senior doctors across two sites who took part in, or facilitated, a ‘second conversation’. This is a three-step training intervention that involves 1) observation – the junior doctor observes an EoLC conversation between a senior doctor and patient/caregiver; 2) direct experience – the junior doctor undertakes a follow-up second conversation with the patient/caregiver; and 3) reflection – the junior doctor discusses and reflects on the experience with a senior colleague. Interviews were analysed using framework analysis and findings informed iterative changes to the intervention and its implementation using ‘Plan, Do, Study, Act’ cycles. Benefits that were identified included the flexibility of the intervention and its positive impact on the confidence and skills of junior doctors. The Second Conversation was felt to be of most value to newly qualified doctors and worked well on wards where length of stay was longer and EoLC conversations frequently happen. Further evaluation and exploration of patient and caregiver experiences is required.

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