Workshop Dates

October 1, 2019, 8:30am - 3:00pm

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Employees of Boston Children’s Hospital and affiliated Harvard teaching hospitals: Complimentary

Non-BCH affiliates: $295

Continuing Education

CNE and Social Work credits are available.


Participant Reviews

“I realized that no one ever feels comfortable or wants to have these conversations, but that being compassionate and responding with empathy provides comfort as the conversation proceeds.”


An uncertain neurodevelopmental outcome. An unexpected congenital anomaly. A medical error. How should you approach these difficult conversations with the infant's parents? Gain practical skills, learn about possible communication approaches, and discuss the ethical underpinnings for having these difficult conversations that are particular to neonatology.

Each workshop emphasizes the importance of the patient and family perspectives and trained improvisational actors as patient and parent ethical understudies. A family faculty member helps to bring the family perspective into the discussion. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their personal and professional experience, and how that can influence their approach to difficult conversations with patients and families.

Each day-long workshop offers:

  • Didactic presentations
  • Realistic enactments with professional actors
  • Evocative videos to trigger discussions
  • Group discussions and debrief

Who Should Attend

Interdisciplinary participants who work in the neonatal intensive care setting at any level of experience are welcome to enroll including but not limited to:

  • Physicians and NICU fellows
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Chaplains
  • Medical Interpreters
  • Administrators

Workshop enrollment size: 15-25 participants


Anne Hansen, MD, MPH

Associate in Medicine; Medical Director, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, BCH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Erin Ward, MsEd, CAS

Family Faculty
Faculty Associate

Kerri O. Kennedy, MA, BS, RN

Clinical Ethicist
Faculty Associate