A mini-course: Effectively Handle “Wait…What??!!” moments

You are carefully sharing with your patient and her family the tissue diagnosis from her open biopsy the previous day. The news is not good. Your patient lies pale and weak in the bed having difficulty accepting the information while her husband appears stunned and tears are spilling down her daughter’s cheek. Suddenly, another healthcare worker barrels through the closed door without a knock, and cheerily, playfully introduces themself and communicates their agenda. You are momentarily stunned; let’s call it a “Wait…What??!!”-moment.

“Wait…what??!!”- moments happen frequently in busy clinical practice. This month, let’s look at what happens to us in Wait…What?!-moments. We will build a framework for thinking about these moments so that we can respond to them in the moment in ways that help and that feel positive to us. We want to respond consistent with our ideal professional identity.

In the following weeks, we will dissect what is happening with the individuals in this room. We will consider these individual reactions in a framework that will help us be intentional and constructive when we respond.

Please send an email if an aspect of what you read in coming weeks intrigues you or if I need to expand on what you see. My goal is to make this as useful as possible to you. Thank you for your attention.