Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 157 | October 19, 2021

Communicating With Your Doctor

Karen Knops, MD

Hospice & Palliative Medicine Specialist

Karen Knops

Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing for the second time my friend and former colleague. Dr. Karen Knops is a Palliative Care Physician and the creator of programs designed to improve communication in medicine. Her work is deeply influenced by her own experiences as a young patient. After receiving her medical degree in Internal Medicine and completing her Fellowship in Palliative Care, she went on to create and lead the Division of Palliative and Supportive Care for a six hundred bed community teaching hospital as part of the Atlantic Health System, also creating an onsite training program for physicians from multiple specialties, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants. Karen has been recognized as “Top Doctor” in Palliative Medicine in both New Jersey and in the Seattle area where she now lives. Her models for communication and understanding patient perspectives have been published and shared nationally and internationally. She is a passionate advocate for improving patient experience and compassion in healthcare. As always, Dr. Orsini keeps his promise about two things, that you will feel inspired, and you will have learned valuable lessons to be a better and more compassionate communicator.

One of the biggest problems we have in medicine right now is poor communication between doctors and patients. Effective communication can predict malpractice, prevent medical errors, and improve the overall patient experience. Dr, Knops discusses how during her medical training, she realized how hard it was to learn communication skills. She tells us more about the approach she used to help herself. Dr. Knops later developed a communication framework for patients and providers called A-S-C-E-N-D, and she tells us all about it, what it means, and how it can help you, patients and doctors. Dr. Orsini and Karen discuss the differences between older generations and Millennials with respect to how they communicate. We end with a communication tip and a great story from Dr. Orsini. if you are an attending physician and you’re teaching residents, Dr. Knops leaves us with some great advice about “honoring the role.” If you enjoyed this podcast, please go ahead and hit subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. Go ahead and download this episode now!

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