Sudden death in the ed: Educating residents to compassionately inform families

Terri A. Schmidt, Robert L. Norton, Susan W. Tolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We describe a program used in our emergency medicine residency to help teach residents new skills in interacting with survivors following a patient's sudden death in the emergency department. This teaching module requires about two and a half hours to complete. It includes a brief presentation of new skills, videotapes of family notification, resident role play experiences, and a summary. Trained volunteers are used as simulated survivors in the role plays. Although labor intensive and time consuming, the program offers educational advantages. The residents have an opportunity to practice their communication skills in a protected setting. In addition, they receive immediate and specific feedback from the faculty facilitator, fellow residents, and, most importantly, the simulated survivor. Following the role play sessions, residents feel they are more skillful in meeting survivors' needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-647
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992


  • communication skills
  • education
  • sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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