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Int J Appl Basic Med Res. 2015 Aug;5(Suppl 1):S41-4. doi: 10.4103/2229-516X.162273.

Teaching communications skills to medical students: Introducing the fine art of medical practice.

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1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical and Health Sciences, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Like many other people based professions, communications skills are essential to medical practice also. Traditional medical teaching in India does not address communication skills which are most essential in dealing with patients. Communication skills can be taught to medical students to increase clinical competence.

OBJECTIVE:

To teach basic communication and counseling skills to fourth-year undergraduate students to increase their clinical competence.

METHODOLOGY:

A total of 48, fourth-year MBBS students participated in the study. They were given training in basic communication and counseling skills and taught the patient interview technique according to Calgary-Cambridge guide format. Improvement in communication was assessed by change in pre- and post-training multiple choice questions, clinical patient examination, and Standardized Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (SPSQ) scores.

RESULTS AND ANALYSIS:

About 88% of the students in the sample were convinced of the importance of learning communication skills for effective practice. Almost 90% students were communicating better after training, as tested by improved SPSQ. As judged by Communication Skill Attitude Scale, student's positive attitude toward learning communication skill indicated that there is a necessity of communication skill training during undergraduate years.

CONCLUSION:

The ability to communicate effectively is a core competency for medical practitioners. Inculcating habits of good communications skill during formative years will help the medical students and future practitioners. Regular courses on effective communication should be included in the medical school curriculum.

KEYWORDS:

Calgary–Cambridge model; clinical competency; communication skills; counseling; medical students

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