Title: Teaching Communication Skills to Medical Undergraduates -Showing the Right Path
Authors: Dr Kala.B.S , Dr M.V. Radhamani
A structured training in communication skills is not given in most medical colleges in India although Medical council has made it compulsory. Studies on its effectiveness are few in India & abroad. This study is an educational project on the effectiveness of a structured communication skills training to medical undergraduates.
Objectives (1) To assess the effectiveness of a structured training in communication skills in the attitude of students towards learning them. (2) To assess its effect on knowledge and communication skills.
Materials & Methods: Nonrandomised educational intervention project conducted on third year MBBS students after obtaining approval from IRB & ethics committee. Attitude of students towards learning communication skills assessed using a questionnaire devised using Rees & Sheard. After 2 weeks usual clinical training OSCE conducted to assess communication skills. Then a structured training on communication skills given and post training Attitude score and OSCE marks taken and compared.
Results: There was a positive attitude towards learning communication skills which significantly improved after the training. Also there was a significant improvement in OSCE marks after the training which shows a significant improvement of communication skills after training.
Conclusions: Continuous and structured training in communication skills must be given to medical undergraduates using different contexts and assessment of communication skills must be a part of final assessment.
Keywords: Communication skills; structured training; Medical undergraduates; assessment; attitude.