Description & Objectives

Description & Objectives

Intended Audience

This conference is intended for all clinicians in the Northwest who treat patients facing chronic and life-threatening illness. The conference is especially relevant to clinicians in oncology, neurology, rheumatology, family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, palliative care, social work, spiritual care and nursing.

Needs Statement

The burden of cancer diagnosis, treatment and outcomes increases each year. Clinicians need ongoing professional development for the emotionally intense, demanding work of caring for patients with life-threatening illness. One-third to one-half of cancer patients in all stages suffer psychological and emotional distress due to their diagnosis and treatment. Psychosocial interventions alleviate distress levels in patients and may even improve medical outcomes.

Even when looking for medical symptoms, it can be difficult to recognize distress in patients - and even more complicated to talk about it with patients and their families, especially when discussing complex and life threatening diagnoses. New therapy and treatment options, each with different psychological strains and symptoms, make clinicians’ work increasingly difficult. Along with our natural aversion to death and dying, this constant flux challenges health care professionals to appreciate the patient’s experience of a new, life-threatening diagnosis and respond with all the medical and psychological support they need.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this symposium, the participant will provide better patient care through an increased ability to:

  • Identify the Five Capacities of Improvisation that help people work collaboratively and establish meaning in altered circumstances; explain the relationship between, and outcome of, the Five Capacities of Improvisation: ambiguity, risk, curiosity, action and innovation and assess how creation and innovation allow people with life threatening illness to accept and respond better to their changed circumstances
  • Apply methods to use personal experiences and reactions to help patients in the clinical situation and recognize how a person’s own psychology may interfere with listening to and helping patients
  • Discuss the balance of expert knowledge and expert judgment in the clinical setting, identify clinical situations where reliance on guidelines or established practice may not be possible and recognize the bridges between expert knowledge and expert care, including the role of risk tolerance and risk aversion in creative clinical interactions
  • Define the Four Phases of Chronic Illness, identify at least one assessment/intervention for each phase and utilize at least one application of the Five Capacities for Improvisation within the Four Phases of Chronic Illness
  • Identify clinical guesswork and improvisation in practice, apply the process of trial, error and revision in healthcare and recognize the strengths and limitations of guideline-driven care
  • Discuss ways that improvisation enhances taking a clinical history and deepens rapport and review pitfalls of the improvisational approach
  • Explain the role of the support group facilitator in the practice of improvisation and recognize the impact of improvisation in the support group setting as shared by patient/caregiver support group participants
  • Listen more effectively to inner language as a way to think about the patient’s experience and transform experiences listening to patients into courageous and helpful clinical interventions

Description & Objectives
CME Credit
Registration Fees

Online registration is closed.
Limited walk-in registration will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday, November 14, 2014

7:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m.

Swedish Education and Conference Center
Swedish Cherry Hill
500 17th Ave
Seattle, Washington


Swedish Medical Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


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(206) 386-2755