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Teaching pediatric communication skills to medical students

Authors Frost K, Metcalf E, Brooks R, Kinnersley P, Greenwood S, Powell C

Received 26 May 2014

Accepted for publication 14 July 2014

Published 16 January 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 35—43


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Katherine A Frost,1,2 Elizabeth P Metcalf,3 Rachel Brooks,2,3 Paul Kinnersley,3 Stephen R Greenwood,3 Colin VE Powell1,2,4

1Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales, 2Department of Pediatrics, 3Institute of Medical Education, 4Molecular and Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales

Background: Delivering effective clinical pediatric communication skills training to undergraduate medical students is a distinct and important challenge. Pediatric-specific communication skills teaching is complex and under-researched. We report on the development of a scenario-based pediatric clinical communication skills program as well as students’ assessment of this module.
Methods: We designed a pediatric clinical communication skills program and delivered it five times during one academic year via small-group teaching. Students were asked to score the workshop in eight domains (learning objectives, complexity, interest, competencies, confidence, tutors, feedback, and discussion) using 5-point Likert scales, along with free text comments that were grouped and analyzed thematically, identifying both the strengths of the workshop and changes suggested to improve future delivery.
Results: Two hundred and twenty-one of 275 (80%) student feedback forms were returned. Ninety-six percent of students' comments were positive or very positive, highlighting themes such as the timing of teaching, relevance, group sizes, and the use of actors, tutors, and clinical scenarios.
Conclusion: Scenario-based teaching of clinical communication skills is positively received by students. Studies need to demonstrate an impact on practice, performance, development, and sustainability of communications training.

Keywords: communication training, undergraduates, pediatrics, actors

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