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Communication skills appropriate to context: our approach to meeting the training needs of interns

Authors:

A. A. Rahim ,

Government Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, IN
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G. M. Govindaraj,

Government Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, IN
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R. J. Thekkekara,

Government Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, IN
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P. M. Anitha,

Government Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, IN
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K. V. Laila

Government Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, India, IN
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Abstract

Objectives: To identify the core competency areas for teaching and training interns in communication skills followed by evaluating effectiveness of the training subjectively, based on student perception.

 

Methods: At the outset we identified five key areas where doctors faced difficulty in communication in their routine clinical practice. This was followed by a two day training programme to 160 interns consisting of videos, hand-outs, lectures and role plays with emphasis on deliberate practice of skills. At the end of the training, Intern‘s perception about the effectiveness of the programme and their self-perceived improvement in skills were assessed.

 

Results: The core competency areas listed by the doctors were: breaking bad news; dealing with a parent resistant to immunisation; communicating with the distressed patient and irritated bystander in casualty, explaining risks and procedures; and dealing with a patient with psychosomatic complaints. Interns responses to the training methodology based on the core competencies were overwhelming with 91% rating the training as effective. Role play was the most appreciated learning technique. Increased self-perceived immediate improvement in Communication skills was reported by 85% of Interns.

 

Conclusions: This exercise has helped us identify the key areas to be focused in communication skills training for interns in our setting, as well as design appropriate teaching learning methods to achieve the objectives. A systematic approach in developing a teaching-learning methodology stressing on the content and process of communication skills training relevant to the local context using a mix of experiential problem based and didactic methods should be stressed while framing a communication skill curriculum.
How to Cite: Rahim, A.A., Govindaraj, G.M., Thekkekara, R.J., Anitha, P.M. and Laila, K.V., 2014. Communication skills appropriate to context: our approach to meeting the training needs of interns. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 8(2), pp.70–72.
Published on 23 Dec 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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