Abstract No. 912 (Free Standing Paper) : A COMPARISON OF THE ASSESSMENT OF MEDICAL STUDENTS COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS BY TEACHERS AND PATIENTS

Conference: 
Author(s): 
Cooper Chris, Kidd Michael, Mira Michael
Department of General Practice, University of Sydney Sydney, Australia
Text: 
Introduction:
Undergraduate medical communication skills are usually taught using a theoretical framework developed by academic teachers. It could be argued that while this model may measure the students' ability to adopt a model used by their teachers, it may be unrelated to the impact the students will have, as doctors, on their patients.
Methods: The communications skills of 200 students were simultaneously assessed by an academic teacher and a role-playing 'patient', using two instruments: the first assessed ten specific communication skills, and overall communication skills, each on a 10 point Likert scale; the second, used a series of open ended questions to explore specific skills which were considered to have impressed assessors.
Results: There was a high level of agreement in the overall assessment by academic teachers and role-playing patients. Responses by academic teachers and role-playing patients to open-ended qualitative questions differed in both content and emphasis.
Discussion:
The findings suggest that the communications skills emphasised by academic teachers do not reflect the skills considered to be important by patients. The findings suggest that the ten specific skills reflect the teachers - and not the patients - view of the students communication skills. Conclusion: Taken together the findings suggest that there are differences in perception inherent in the role of observer and patient. The study suggests that using role-playing patients to teach and assess medical communications skills would complement, rather than supplement, the role of academic teachers as facilitators and role-models