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Korean J Med Educ. 2018 Jun;30(2):153-159. doi: 10.3946/kjme.2018.90. Epub 2018 May 30.

The effect of communication training using standardized patients on nonverbal behaviors in medical students.

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Department of Medical Education, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea.
Department of Family Medicine, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.



Nonverbal communication (NVC) is important in the patient-physician relationship, but the effect of NVC education is not well kown. In this study, we try to identify if students' NVC abilities are improved through communication training.


First-year medical students conducted medical interviews, which were performed with standardized patients (SPs) before and after communication skill education, and recorded in video. Fifty-one students were enrolled for this study. Two researchers used the NVC checklist, which consists of 12 nonverbal behaviors, to analyze and compare the students' nonverbal expressions in the interviews recorded before and after the education.


After the students participated in communication training, open body position and adequate facial expression were increased while unnecessary silence, un-purposive movements, and giggling were decreased. These results can be interpreted as positive effects of the education. However, hand gesture was increased as a negative effect of the education. The total NVC score of the 12 nonverbal behaviors in the NVC checklist improved significantly, rising from 8.56 to 10.03.


Communication skill education using SPs can improve nonverbal behaviors of medical students, especially facial expression, un-purposive movement, body position, unnecessary silence, and giggle, but not hand gesture. Further research is needed on a variety of teaching methods to improve NVCs.


Feedback; Medical education; Medical students; Patient; Simulation; Nonverbal communication

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