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Int J Med Educ. 2019 Feb 28;10:45-53. doi: 10.5116/ijme.5c6c.3430.

Exploring medical residents' perceived need for negotiation skills training.

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Department of Pediatrics, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Department of Educational Development and Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Academy for Postgraduate Medical Education and Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Department of Pediatrics, Zuyderland Medical Centre, Heerlen, the Netherlands.



This study explores the optimal focus for negotiation skills development training by investigating how often medical residents negotiate in practice, and how they perceive the effectiveness of their negotiation capabilities.


An exploratory study was performed using a questionnaire regarding the medical residents' working environment, negotiation frequency, knowledge and skills using a 5-point Likert scale, multiple choice questions and open questions. Exploratory factor analysis with principal component analysis, varimax rotation, reliability analysis, and content analysis were used to reduce the number of variables. Descriptive and interferential statistics and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data.


We analyzed the responses of 60 medical residents. The findings showed that the perceived development of their negotiation knowledge (M=3.06, SD=0.83) was less than their negotiation skills (M=3.69, SD=0.47). Their attitude during negotiations, especially females, differed substantially in the interactions with nurses than with their supervisors. Medical residents with more working experience, better negotiation skills or who worked in hierarchical environments negotiated more frequently with their supervisors. Medical residents with better collaboration skills and negotiation knowledge demonstrated better negotiation skills.


This study underlines medical residents' need for negotiation training. In addition to the basic negotiation knowledge and skills, training programs in negotiation should focus on the medical residents' awareness of their attitudes during negotiations, combining the assertiveness shown in interactions with supervisors with the empathy and emotional engagement present in interactions with nurses.  Furthermore, attention should be paid to the influence of the environmental hierarchy on negotiation skill development.


competency-based training; management and leadership; medical education; negotiation skills; postgraduate

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