Negotiating Difficult Healthcare Situations

Course Description:

Physicians and their staff often find themselves in situations where they seek to reach an agreement with another person who initially appears to have interests different from their own.  Patients often arrive with their own treatment ideas and preferences.  Colleagues and co-workers have beliefs about what, when, how and to what standard work should be done.  Failure to successfully negotiate these difficult situations increases the risks inherent in the everyday practice of medicine.

The purpose of this seminar is to describe and demonstrate negotiation skills that will help attendees to reach the best agreements in a myriad of workplace situations.

Attendees will see video vignettes featuring "less effective" and "more effective" examples of negotiations between staff members, physician and patient, physician and medical assistant, and physician and practice administrator.


Upon completion of this program, attendees should be able to:

  1. Describe a well-established and proven approach to negotiating as an effective way in which workplace problems can be addressed and workable agreements reached;
  2. Hone skills in discriminating more effective from less effective interactions involving patients, staff and physicians; and
  3. Apply the negotiation process to a range of situations in the office/hospital setting.

Speaker: Dan O’Connell, PhD 

Dr. Dan O’Connell is a clinical psychologist who lives in Seattle, Washington. Over the last 35 years, Dr. O’Connell has worked as an educator, consultant, clinician, department chair and executive director in medical, behavioral health and educational settings. He is a consultant to the Institute for Healthcare Communication and serves on the faculty of the Foundation for Medical Excellence. He works with providers at the University of Washington and UCLA Schools of Medicine and maintains a coaching and consulting practice working primarily with healthcare organizations and individual providers on all aspects of the psychology of medicine, leadership in healthcare settings and professional interactions. Dr. O'Connell has led more than 600 workshops on various topics in the psychology of relationships and communication in healthcare.

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