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Teach Learn Med. 2009 Oct;21(4):327-33. doi: 10.1080/10401330903228604.

Development of a communication curriculum for emergency medicine residents.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.



The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires residency training programs to develop methods to teach and assess communication skills in residents to ensure competence as a practitioner. In response, we piloted a communication curriculum for emergency medicine residents. We describe the curriculum and suggest future directions for development based on the strengths and weaknesses of residents' performance and their reactions to the curriculum.


Twenty-six residents in a 3-year program at a university-affiliated county hospital participated. Curriculum components were an introductory session, a single standardized patient encounter using a locally written, unvalidated checklist assessing residents' communication skills, a videotape-facilitated self-assessment, and a private feedback session.


Residents demonstrated greatest strengths in basic interpersonal skills and efficient information gathering and greatest weakness in empathy. Residents rated the curriculum favorably.


The curriculum as implemented offers an initial foundation for teaching and learning critical care communication. Instruction in empathy requires improvement.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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