Bioethics Grand Rounds

You are here

Wed, March 22, 2017, 12:00pm
UH Ford Amphitheater & Lobby

Autumn Fiester, PhD, Division of Medical Ethics, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania

Title –  The “Difficult” Patient Reconceived: Learning the Skills of Mediators in Managing Challenging Clinical Encounters.

Abstract: Between 15%-60% of patients are considered “difficult” by their treating physicians.  Patient psychiatric pathology is the conventional explanation for why patients are deemed “difficult.” But the prevalence of the problem suggests the possibility of a less pathological cause.  I argue that the phenomenon can be better explained as responses sourced in conflicts related to healthcare delivery and that the solution to the “difficult patient” is to teach better conflict management skills to clinical providers.


1. Apply the mediator's concepts of "positions" and "interests" to patient-provider conflicts
2. Identity the moral emotions and explain their significance in managing the "difficult" patient
3. Learn seven maxims for diffusing conflict in clinical encounters

Available via live stream at: