ABSTRACT: Can a brief two-hour interdisciplinary communication skills training be successful in undergraduate medical education?
To pilot-test feasibility, acceptance and learning-outcomes of a brief interdisciplinary communication skills training program in undergraduate medical education.
A two-hour interdisciplinary communication skills program with simulated patients was developed and pilot-tested with clinical students at Hamburg University. Five psychosocial specialties facilitated the training. Composite effects were measured qualitatively and quantitatively.
Eighty students volunteered to participate in the pilot-program (intervention-group). Their evaluations of the program were very positive (1.1 on a six-point scale). Benefits were seen in feedback, increase of self-confidence, cross-disciplinary clinical and communication experience. Students who did not volunteer (n=206) served as the control-group. The intervention-group performed significantly better (p=0.023) in a primary care communication examination and female students performed better than males. Clinical teachers evaluated the pilot-training very positively with regard to learning-outcomes and feasibility. The positive results from the pilot-training led to implementation into the regular curriculum.
A two-hour interdisciplinary communication skills training program is beneficial for medical students with regard to communication competencies, self-confidence and learning-outcomes.
The training is feasible within given time-frames and limited staff resources. The high teaching load for small-group-training are split between five specialties. The concept might be an interesting option for other faculties.