Effectiveness of a communication skills training program for medical students to identify patients communicative clues.

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Patient Education and Counseling
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Objective This study explores whether an Experiential Training Programme (ETP) in communication skills (CS) improves students' ability to identify patients clues compared to those who follow a non-experiential training throughout their medical studies. Method Intervention Group (IG): 85 4th-year medical students who received the ETP and Control Group (CG): 67 recently graduated students who did not receive it. Their immediate (written) response was requested to three expressions offered by patients containing communicative clues. The answers were grouped into 2 categories: Clue recognised and response patient-centred and the opposite. Three researchers analysed the answers. Results Responses 366 (65 from the CG and 77 from the IG): 280 did not recognise clues: 131 (62%) in IG and 149 (96%) in CG and 86 recognised them: 80 (37.9%) in IG and 6 (3.9%) in CG (p = 0.000). Some clues were more elusive than others (p = 0,003). Conclusions The students who received the ETP in CS showed greater ability to explore patients perspective taking advantage of different types of communicative clues than those who did not receive it in a non-relational context. Practice implications Further research is needed to assess whether this ability is maintained in simulated or real clinical situations.

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Communication skills, Experiential learning, Medical students, Patient–physician relationship, Communicative clue