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Cureus. 2018 Jan 21;10(1):e2094. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2094.

Not Your Typical Simulation Workshop: Using LEGOs to Train Medical Students on the Practice of Effective Communication.

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1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University.

Abstract

As students in the health professions transition from the classroom into the clinical environment, they will be expected to effectively communicate with their team members and their patients. Effective communication skills are essential to their ability to effectively contribute to their clinical team and the patient care they deliver. The authors propose an interactive workshop that can support students' deliberate practice of communication skills. The authors designed a simulation workshop that affords students the opportunity to practice their communication and peer-to-peer coaching skills. Using LEGOs, a one-hour workshop was conducted with medical students. Students were divided into groups of two. Each student took on a different role: teacher or builder. Teachers were tasked with instructing builders on how to construct a pre-made LEGO structure, not allowing builders to look at the structure. A group debriefing followed to evaluate the activity and explore the themes that emerged. Twenty first-year medical students and 25 fourth-year medical students participated in this activity. Most groups were successful in reproducing the pre-made structure. Groups that pre-briefed before building were most successful. Unsuccessful groups did not define orientation or direction in mutually understood terms, resulting in the creation of an incorrect mirror image of the structure - a common phenomenon seen during the teaching of procedures in the clinical learning environment. The workshop was well received. Students made requests to have similar sessions throughout their training to better support the development of effective communication skills. The workshop can easily be applied to other specialties to assist with procedural skills instruction or in workshops focusing on effective communication.

KEYWORDS:

communication; medical education; medical student; simulation; teamwork

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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