Course Outline:

Sharing Decisions; Communicating Risks

Course Outline:

Sharing Decisions; Communicating Risks

Course Title

Sharing Decisions; Communicating Risks

Course Duration

Half Day Course


Sharing Decisions with patients makes sense in a lot of cases. It is an expected professional requirement. It is an important outcome of GP Training. However, it is not without difficulties. Some decisions are clear cut; some patients reply with, “What would you do doctor/nurse”. With our usual blend of activities, we move to practising skills which will help us in our consultations with real patients.

Some clinical care is effective care. An autonomous patient may always decline it, but evidence supports the action (e.g. trauma surgery, childhood vaccination). In primary care, most scenarios permit of more than one action. This is called preference sensitive care. Here is where sharing of decisions does and should occur.

Our practical exercises throughout the day are designed to address these issues head on. The exercises are short, structured and aimed at the real world. Whilst we do some skills practice in threes, there is no role play in front of the group and no audio or video recording.

Who is this course for?

All clinicians in primary care, of whatever vintage. AiTS, new GPs, experienced GPs, nurse practitioners, practice nurses, extended role practitioners – and indeed any clinical professional from secondary as well as primary care.

Everything we present is referenced – so if you want to do some more research or read the original article you can, but you don’t have to.

In line with all our courses, delegates will find this an evidence based, entertaining, fast-paced, relevant and very practical day. We focus on actions and you will leave with many specific tips to use in your consulting room the following day.

What will be covered?

Sharing decisions with patients is a current buzz-phrase. But is not always appropriate AND studies in the real world show that doctors don’t do it well. Communicating risks and benefits effectively is not easy, yet it is vital if our patients are to gain a meaningful voice in decision making.

Participants will have a chance to reflect on their own practice and compare notes. There will be presentations of significant research relevant to the sharing decisions and communicating risks – alongside helpful suggestions, rehearsed in focused practical exercises.

We will explore the three types of care from the Dartmouth Atlas Project, defining Preference Sensitive Care, which is the type of care in which patient input leads to best decisions.

We will examine the OPTION model, which defines excellence in this area of practice. We will explore theory and practice regarding communicating risk with patients.

And throughout there will be short practical exercises to experiment with ideas and materials provided to attendees, which are realistic for us in 10 minute consultations.

Our goal is to help you find and overcome difficulties and to leave you with practical ideas to enhance your own consultations with patients.

Delegates are invited to explore their own challenges, compare notes with colleagues and learn some theory – and then practise some important and useable techniques in small group structured exercises. You should leave with a number of new ideas, words and phrases to make more headway with patients AND experiment with some useful props – so as to make these consultations less frustrating for all parties!

Who is this course designed for?

Established GPs
Shared Decision Making has been creeping up the agenda, but many older GPs will not have been trained.

Teachers of GPRs, other doctors, nurses etc.
Even if you are experienced in communication skills teaching, the day is likely to give you new ideas and structures for your teaching.

GP Registrars
GPRs have different things to gain at different levels. At ST1/2, to learn an effective framework for consultations. Just before or just at the start of ST3 – to focus down on the real work of general practice. In preparation for CSA – to find some particularly useful strategies for the CSA (this challenge runs through the CSA).

Nurse Practitioners & Extended Role Practitioners
Are working very autonomously to manage patients; in our experience, it is rare for such practitioners to have received relevant training.

Secondary Care Doctors, Nurses and other Clinicians.
Relevant to all clinical practitioners. Secondary Care doctors who attend usually give enthusiastic feedback.

Course Title

Sharing Decisions; Communicating Risks

Course Duration

One Day Course

What the day includes:

Shared decision making skills are appropriate in any consultation where the preference of the patient influences the best clinical decision i.e. most primary care consultations – although perhaps most required in conditions with a long time-scale, and where more than one clinically suitable option is viable. A large proportion of GP and Practice Nurse work falls into this category.

The course is aimed at:

GPs, GP Registrars, other doctors, nurses and other advanced role practitioners (e.g. physiotherapists). Works with a multi-disciplinary audience.

Topics include:

  1. Shared decision making – reflections on our own experiences
  2. Three types of care
  3. Preference sensitive decisions – some theory
  4. The OPTIONS tool – explanation; practical exercise (used with permission)
  5. Countering patients’ unrealistic expectations
  6. Exercise – practising tricky conversations
  7. Risk communication – reflections on our own experiences
  8. Some theory and practical exercises about communicating risk and benefits accurately
  9. Graphical forms – what works best
  10. Practising with graphical forms
  11. Decision aids
  12. Practising with decision aids
  13. Learning points – my own pdp in this topic after the course

Learning points

Using a trademark EPI blend of learning activities (discussion, group exercises and skills development) we explore the implications for our consultations. Importantly we include plenty of practical conversational practice.

Whilst we offer no magic bullets, we can promise that all participants will leave with enhanced understanding of a range of key issues, and with specific skills and ideas that will enhance their consultations on the next working day after the seminar.