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Indian J Ophthalmol. 2019 Nov;67(11):1810-1815. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_366_19.

Development and introduction of a communication skills module for postgraduate students of ophthalmology.

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Glaucoma Clinic, M and J Western Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, B. J. Medical College and Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.



Effective communication lies at the heart of a patient--doctor relationship. Communication skills (CS) teaching and assessment is not a part of the postgraduate (PG) curriculum. Lack of effective CS in current PG students' results in patient distrust and dissatisfaction, conflicts, and compromised healthcare. The regulatory authorities of medical education have recognized the need to inculcate soft skills among medical graduates, one of which is CS. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for teaching CS to ophthalmology PG students and develop and introduce a module for the same.


In this prospective, interventional study done at the ophthalmology department of a tertiary hospital, a validated 8 day CS workshop was conducted for 60 PG students through interactive lectures, observations, video sessions, and role plays. Feedbacks were obtained through narratives, validated Google survey, reflections and verbal method and analyzed.


In the needs assessment done on 27 departmental faculties, 20 faculties found poor communication to be a major reason for patient complaints. All faculties agreed that CS should be taught to medical students. Statistically significant improvement in CS awareness was noted among students after the workshop. Lack of CS training, work burden, and language were identified as main barriers to effective communication. All the students were satisfied with the workshop and wanted it to be conducted regularly.


This study establishes that CS training is essential to improve patient satisfaction and patient-doctor relationships. Barriers to effective CS could be identified, for which possible solutions could be found.


Communication skills; medical education; ophthalmology postgraduates; soft skills


Conflict of interest statement

There are no conflicts of interest.

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