The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes, feelings, and practice characteristics of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in Israel regarding the subject of delivering bad news.
One hundred and seventy-three Israeli SLPs answered an online survey. Respondents represented SLPs in Israel in all stages of vocational experience, with varying academic degrees, from a variety of employment settings. The survey addressed emotions involved in the process of delivering bad news, training on this subject, and background information of the respondents. Frequency distributions of the responses of the participants were determined, and Pearson correlations were computed to determine the relation between years of occupational experience and the following variables: frequency of delivering bad news, opinions regarding training, and emotions experienced during the process of bad news delivery.
Our survey showed that bad news delivery is a task that most participants are confronted with from the very beginning of their careers. Participants regarded training in the subject of delivering bad news as important but, at the same time, reported receiving relatively little training on this subject. In addition, our survey showed that negative emotions are involved in the process of delivering bad news.
Training SLPs on specific techniques is required for successfully delivering bad news. The emotional burden associated with breaking bad news in the field of speech-language pathology should be noticed and addressed.
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