7th November, 2023

How Do You Say No When Someone Might Die?

With Rachel Morris

Dr Rachel Morris

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On this episode

Saying no and setting boundaries are core to avoiding burnout. But if saying no might put a patient at harm – or worse – what can you do?

In this quick dip episode, Rachel explains the concept of core and flex boundaries along with core and flex consequences. Core boundaries are non-negotiables that we always enforce, rather than preferences we’d like to enforce but can be flexible around.Key to this approach is also recognising the short- and long-term consequences of saying no.

By not setting boundaries or saying no when we need to, we risk damaging our relationships and neglecting our own needs. This can lead to regret, unfulfilled goals, and negative effects on other people who rely on us. But by setting rigid and flexible boundaries, we can get closer to a healthy work-life balance, and keep our priorities and commitments in tact.

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Reasons to listen

  • To discover how to set boundaries and say no in challenging situations, ie when someone’s life might be at stake.
  • To understand the concept of core and flex boundaries and how they can help in decision-making.
  • To learn about the short-term and long-term consequences of setting boundaries and saying no, and the importance of considering them when making decisions.

Episode highlights


Introducing core and flex boundaries


Core boundaries


Flex boundaries


What happens when core boundaries are in conflict


Short-term consequences


Long-term consequences


Core and flex consequences


Hierarchy of boundaries


Putting this into practice

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rachel: I was speaking at a conference for medical students the other day. And the talk I was giving was the talk I’ve been doing a lot all around the country about how to say now, embrace your limits, prioritize, set, boundaries, and deal with pushback. [00:00:14] And in this talk I asked three main questions. Number one is how do we make a choice when it feels like there is none? How do we embrace our limits in that system which is limitless? And the final question is how do we say no? When someone might die? [00:00:31]…

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