Welcome to difficult conversations lessons I learned as an ICU physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr. Orsini is a practicing physician and president and CEO of the Orsini way as a frequent keynote speaker and author.
Dr. Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders. How to navigate through the
most difficult dialogues each week. You will hear inspiring interviews with experts in their field who tell their
stories and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate whether you are a doctor faced with
giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or her team members or
someone who just wants to learn to communicate better.
This is the podcast for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (48s):
Hello everyone. My name is Dr. Anthony Orsini, and I’m so excited to welcome you to my very first podcast.
You know, I’m passionate about two things, medicine, and communication as a powerful tool
that can be used to convey compassion, form relationships quickly, and build loyalty. It affects every
aspect of our personal and our professional lives, but it is especially important during those critical life-changing moments. And we’ve all been involved in difficult conversations and how we communicate during
those conversations can make the difference between helping someone or making a bad situation worse as
a neonatologist, caring for the most critically ill newborns for almost 25 years.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 32s):
Now, I have certainly had more than my fair share of difficult conversations. Telling someone that their
baby died or has suffered a severe brain injury, no matter how long you do it just never gets easy. Like most
people giving bad news is something that no one ever wants to do. But I found out during my personal
journey that doing it the right way is truly a gift more on that leader, but difficult conversations don’t just occur
in medicine. They happen every day when sometimes we don’t even know they’re occurring in business
managers become true leaders when they know how to communicate and get the most out of their
employees and build loyalty.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 12s):
Team members are more successful when they communicate well. And HR professionals who know how to
navigate through the most difficult dialogues are able to avoid bigger problems later on in our personal lives,
knowing how to communicate can help us build friendships, help our marriages, and sometimes even get
through to our teenagers. This podcast is about learning to communicate effectively and with compassion
each week, we’ll discuss practical communication techniques that will help you convey your natural
compassion, build loyalty and form trusting relationships.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 50s):
You will hear inspiring stories of tragedy and triumph, and in each story, we’ll learn together about the major role that communication played. Now, if you subscribe to this podcast, I promise you that you will never think
about communication the same way. Again, you’ll be inspired to learn more and eager to try out what you’ve
learned. I’ve dedicated my entire career to learning how to help people, but not with just medicine, with my
words and my actions as well. And I’m eager to share with you what I have learned.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 22s):
Let’s face it. If you can tell someone their child is dying with compassion, every other conversation, it’s
relatively easy. I have fantastic guests lined up both from inside and outside the healthcare industry. I’ll be
interviewing some amazing people who will share their stories with you and what they’ve learned about
communication along the way. We also have experts in every field who will provide you with practical tips on
how they’ve learned to use communication to succeed. Now, it’s only fair that if I’m going to ask personal
questions of my guests and I will, that I share with you my own personal story.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 59s):
My personal story starts 25 years ago. I was a neonatology fellow. And for those of you who don’t know the
medical nomenclature, a neonatology fellow is someone who’s already completed their pediatric training
and has decided to train for another three years to be certified, to take care of the sickest, premature, and
newborn babies. It was early on in my fellowship when I was on call at nighttime and I received a call from a
desperate pediatrician in New Jersey. You asked me to pick up a very sick baby.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (4m 29s):
It was my job as a neonatal fellow to go and pick up the baby with the transport team. When I arrived at the
hospital, I found the baby who was just desperately clinging on to life. The ventilator that he was on was
working at its hardest and his oxygenation and his blood was barely high enough to keep him alive. The only
chance he had was to get them back to my hospital and place them on a heart-lung bypass machine. The
parents gave the baby a quick kiss on the cheek. We ran to the ambulance lights and sirens going, but as
we went over the Ben Franklin bridge back to Philadelphia, the baby’s heart rate started to drift.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 6s):
We gave extra medications. I called my senior physician that night, dr. Smith for advice. And he assured us
we were doing everything possible and that the baby just needed to get back to the hospital. Sadly, as we
got to the hospital, the baby’s heart rate had dropped so low that we started full resuscitation dr. Smith, that I
continued the resuscitation at the hospital, including full CPR, but sadly, the baby passed away. Soon after
the baby passed away, the charge nurse informed me that the father had followed the ambulance and was
waiting for us in the back room.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 43s):
Now that night I felt very fortunate because I was on with my senior dr. Smith. I have known dr. Smith for
three years and I have known him to be one of the most compassionate people I’d ever known. He was a great, super smart. He was kind and caring. He was the kind of doctor that I wanted to be like when I grew
up now at the time also, I was very fortunate in my own personal life. I had a newborn baby that was a healthy,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (6m 14s):
My parents are both alive. I really had no tragedy in my life. And so the thought of telling someone that their
baby died, scared the crap out of me. So I decided to use this terrible event as a possible way of learning,
how to speak to a father about death. I asked dr. Smith, if I could watch him tell the parent that has a baby a
died. He of course said, yes. We walked down the hallway to the waiting room. We opened up the door. We
found a father who was frantically pacing back and forth.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (6m 47s):
And what happened next is still unexplainable to me almost 25 years later, this kind compassionate doctor
whom I had known for three years, simply blurted out my name’s dr. Smith and your baby’s dead. I thought,
did he just do that? Well, the father, he went crazy. I remember he punched the wall. I think he put a hole in
the wall. He knocked down the table lamp. He was screaming at a sound that I had never heard before.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (7m 18s):
Dr. Smith just stood there. I thought I need to do something. So I took a step forward towards the father and
dr. Smith just put the back of his hand on my chest. And he said, let him be a few moments later. The father
calmed down. We got them to sit down and we spoke to him. And at that point, the true compassion of dr.
Smith came out. We walked the father down the hallway to show him where his bed, baby lay. When we
decided to give the father a few moments with his baby, I walked out of the room into the hallway and Dr.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (7m 48s):
Smith was waiting for me. He grabbed me by the lapel, pulled me really close, and I could see that there
were tears in his eyes. And he said to me really firmly. He said, do you see what I just did? Don’t ever do
that. He turned around, walked down the hallway towards the fire escape. He spent the next 20 minutes on
the fire escape. No doubt crying. Well, that was a life-changing moment for me profoundly changed me.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (8m 20s):
I thought if this gentle compassionate man does not know how to give bad news in the kindest way possible.
What chance do I have at that moment? I decided to spend my career trying to answer two questions. One,
is there a right way and a wrong way to give tragic news to a patient, and two, if there is a right way, how do
you teach it? So for the next 10 years, I poured through all the literature on how to break bad news.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (8m 55s):
And there was very little, but more importantly, he interviewed dozens and dozens of patients and parents
, and family members who had received bad news from doctors. And I asked them what worked, what made you feel better? What made you feel worse? And I started to see a pattern that there really was a right way
and a wrong way to tell someone their baby died or that they have cancer or their husband and wife passed
away. That there were certain fundamentals that if done correctly can really help somebody when they need
Dr. Anthony Orsini (9m 29s):
The most 10 years later, I started the breaking bad news program, which since then has trained thousands
of doctors and nurses, how to give tragic news and the most compassionate and effective manner. But along
the way, I started to notice one thing, the same communication techniques that are required to give someone
tragic news and the most compassionate and effective manner are the same communication techniques that
help us in everyday life. I wondered why is it that some physicians are able to build great practices and other
physicians would just as good clinical skills seem to struggle.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (10m 9s):
Why is it that some people succeed in life and others just can’t seem to get ahead? Why is it that the
smartest person in the room will become the manager who can’t lead? The answer is simple. If you can learn to
communicate, then you’re good for every situation. And trust me, if you can teach someone how to give bad
news, how to tell someone that they have cancer, the rest of it’s easy. And so currently I train a lot of
physicians on not just how to give bad news, but how to build rapport.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (10m 42s):
Had a formulation ships managers who learn how to communicate, become true leaders. And that’s what
this podcast is all about. Difficult conversations occur every day in our lives when we don’t even know they’re
happening. And yes, we notice them more during tragedy, but communication fascinates me how we
communicate verbally. Non-verbally the messages that we send changing one word in a sentence and how
that’s perceived can make all the difference in the world.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (11m 15s):
So we have some great guests who are going to tell you about critical times in their lives. When
communication really made a difference. We have some guests, who’ve had some tragedy and came out on
the other end because someone built a relationship with them. And so I’ve learned through many, many
years that building a good practice, making a patient experience as least bad as possible, has everything to
do with communication. During my training sessions, when I train nurses and doctors, how to communicate,
we’ve shown what a big difference it makes in the patient experience.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (11m 52s):
And we’re going to have some guests that we’re going to talk about patient experience, but I don’t want you
to think that this is just for healthcare workers, because I’ve worked with HR professionals. How you
separate someone from employment can make a big difference. It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.
And I love communication. I think it’s fascinating. And I’m so excited to keep learning because I’m going to
learn from some of my guests. I promise you that if you listen to this podcast every week, every week, you’ll
be inspired every week, you’ll learn something.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (12m 26s):
And as I’ve been told over and over and over again, once you start thinking about communication, the way
that we discuss it, it will rewire your brain. You’ll understand what it means when you move your hands in a
certain way, you understand how one word changes everything. And you’ll never think about communication
the same way again. So my personal journey started with a profound moment of watching someone be told
that their son had died abruptly, but that doesn’t need to happen to you to learn communication.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (13m 1s):
Many of you that are listening to this podcast are going to be healthcare workers, and we’re going to learn
some great techniques on how to improve the patient experience, how to build rapport with your patients.
But again, these techniques work every day at home, in your marriage, in business, it works for everything.
So if you really are excited about this podcast, we already have great interviews already recorded. I can’t
wait for you to listen to them. And I promise you, if you hit subscribe, you will never think about
communication the same way again, and you will be inspired.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (13m 37s):
So please go ahead and subscribe. Download, give us a great review. We really would appreciate it. I’m
telling you, just give us a chance and you’re going to be excited. Thank you. And I hope that I’ll see you
again. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe button, leave a comment and review.
Announcer (14m 0s):
If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe button and leave a comment and review to contact Dr.
Orsini and his team, or to suggest guests for future podcasts. Visit us at the Orsiniway.Com.