Development and Pilot Implementation of an Assessment-Based Communication Skills Curriculum for Medical Interns to Emphasize Doctor Patient Relationship
Development and Pilot Implementation of an Assessment-Based Communication Skills Curriculum
Background & Objectives: The relationship between good doctor-patient communication and improved health outcomes is well established. Communication skills cannot be adequately learnt by mere observation of the experienced physician. Methods: A curriculum was developed and piloted in a workshop to teach aspects of doctor-patient communication to medical interns. Key features of the curriculum were use of Cohen-Cole and Bird’s three function approach, with emphasis on the understanding and responding to the patients’ emotions using verbal and non verbal communication, listening and empathy. A pre- and post training assessment using scenarios based on common clinical situations was conducted before and after an interactive workshop. Fifteen of sixteen designated interns attended the training. Results: Pre- and post workshop assessment scores were recorded and analysed. These were highest for the history taking skills station and lowest for the lifestyle change station. Feedback was taken from the interns and faculty who assessed the students. Students appreciated the chance to participate in the workshop and could recognise what aspects of their communication needed to be improved. Faculty could appreciate the detailed planning required. Conclusion: Communication with patients is the most powerful diagnostic tool of a clinician. The three function approach is an effective model because of its focus on the emotional aspect of patient interaction. This training can serve as a reasonable foundation for interns before their graduation.
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