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Korean J Med Educ. 2010 Mar;22(1):33-45. doi: 10.3946/kjme.2010.22.1.33. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

Analysis of the perceived effectiveness and learning experience of medical communication skills training in interns.

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Department of Medical Education, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



This study aims to explore the perceived effectiveness, benefits, and learning experiences of interns with regard to their participation in a communication skills workshop program, which can have implications for the development and implementation of future communication skills training.


One hundred twenty one interns and 12 senior residents and fellows participated in the workshop program as learners and tutors. The participating interns encountered three difficult communication situations, represented by trained standardized patients. During each encounter, each participant had an individual encounter, group discussion, and feedback on his performance. A self-assessment survey, composed of five itemized questions and seven open-ended questions, was administered after the workshop. A mixed methods approach was used to analyze the quantitative and qualitative data.


The participants had positive perceptions of the implementation and effects of the workshop, and they responded higher than 4.0 to all itemized questions on their perception of the effectiveness and benefits of the workshop. The analysis of open-ended questions demonstrated specific learning experiences of the participants, such as the hardship of solving ill-structured communication problems and reflection on their current knowledge, skills, attitudes, and practice as physicians. The participants reported that the workshop provided opportunities of improving diverse communication skills and problem-solving skills and identifying further learning needs.


The results suggest that communication skills training for interns facilitates their reflection and development of communication skills, as well as their competency of situated problem solving. Consequently, communication skills development should be regarded as an important subject of continuing medical education. Several implications of this study can contribute to the design and development of communication skills-related programs.


Communication; Internship and residency; Physician-patient relations

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