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Med Educ. 1997 Mar;31(2):87-93.

Videotaped interviewing of non-English speakers: training for medical students with volunteer clients.

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Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia.


In a multicultural society such as Australia, with over 20% of its population born overseas, interpreters are often required to facilitate medical interviews. However, where a patient has some proficiency in English, medical interviews are sometimes conducted across the boundaries of culture and language. This is a report of an educational innovation to teach interviewing skills to pre-clinical medical students with the assistance of volunteers of non-English-speaking backgrounds. Pre-clinical students interviewed community volunteers on topics of general life history in a sequence of 16 tutorials. Each student conducted two interviews. Teaching methods included feedback from the volunteers, tutorial discussion facilitated by playback of videotapes, and modelling of skills by the teachers. Evaluations by volunteers and students indicated high satisfaction with the teaching methods and outcomes. Students gained confidence in interviewing people from different cultures. Evaluation of students' pairs of videotapes by an independent rater achieved satisfactory reliabilities and indicated significant gains in inquiry skills and the communication of positive attitudes. Skills in communicating empathy and in using simple language did not improve measurably.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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