This page gives details about the importance of
communication skills and details of courses for health professionals
learn more about this topic
Communication skills are now routinely taught to medical students and GP registrars but many of us who are principals were not given any training in this vital part of our day to day work. Younger GPs may have had some training but wish they could further develop their skills now they are in established practice.
A recent report by the BMA also recommends that all doctors undertake communication skills training as without regular opportunities for learning your skills do not progress.
Most of the current proposals for reaccredidation imply communication skills
will be an important component. It will also be one of the key skills relevant to Clinical
Governance and revalidation.
East Anglian General Practitioners have pioneered a unique cascade of communication skills training for GP principals during the past
4 years. The first part of this initiative in Peterborough began in September 1997 with a presentation by Dr Jonathan Silverman, Regional Communication Skills Teaching Facilitator where the following questions were addressed:
Why bother to learn communication skills
? Is it important for us in our every day work as practising doctors? Are there problems in doctor-patient communication that we need to address? Are there solutions to these problems? Can learning communication skills actually make a difference? Surely it's all a matter of experience and personality - perhaps communication skills can neither be taught nor learnt?
Jonathan Silverman discussed the research evidence that answers these questions and gave a coherent justification for studying this subject. Communication is a core clinical skill: it is not simply being nice to patients or being patient-centred but an essential component that determines our clinical effectiveness. There is little point in being factually excellent if communication difficulties prevent us from understanding the patient's story or from providing a plan that the patient can understand and feel committed to put into action. Our communication skills, our knowledge base and our problem solving ability together represent the very essence of clinical practice - all three are required to be an effective doctor.
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What can studying communication skills offer us as practising GPs?
increased doctor job satisfaction
decreased conflict within the consultation
more accurate and efficient interviews
better clinical hypothesis generation
increased patient satisfaction
increased patient understanding and recall
improved compliance and disease outcome
decreased medico legal complaints
Actual savings in time
More structure and control of the difficult consultation
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In Peterborough this presentation has been
followed followed up by a series of successful courses for GPs ,
trainers, nurses and other health professionals.
Residential course , Stoke Rocheford Hall, Lincs
1998 Series of evening meetings at Peterborough Postgraduate centre
1998-9 Communication in Cancer
Care - 3 day courses
Jan 1999 The Risk Conversation - communicating risk in genetics
Day course, Haycock Hotel, Wansford, Cambs
Feb 2000 Residential course Wyboston Lakes ,
St Neots, Cambs
November 11th Workshop Haycock Hotel
Wansford Peterborough 9-1
May 2000 Day course for Trainers , Madingley hall, Cambridge
June 13th Workshop for Peterborough South Primary Care Trust
November 17th Day course for Trainers , Moller Centre, Cambridge
further details on courses apply to :
Upwell Health Centre, Townley Close, UPWELL, PE14 9BT
or email firstname.lastname@example.org,
phone 01945 774081, fax 01945 774082
Residential course description
course aims to address some of the basic issues related to communication
Are the lessons from theory and research
applicable to our own practice of medicine and if so, can we develop practical
ways to help solve the difficulties that we ourselves face? This course will
provide space and time for the group to start to look at the issues that they
themselves find difficult in communication in the consultation. Together, we can
then tease out how to solve our problems, explore what it is that makes for a
good consultation and, in particular, identify those particular communication
skills that can really make a difference to both doctors and their patients on a
day to day basis. We shall have an opportunity to experiment with suggestions
and to practice and rehearse new approaches that we might wish to incorporate
into our own consultation styles.
We shall try hard to create a safe
and supportive environment from the outset so that we can enjoy working together
in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. There will be a range of different
teaching techniques employed including using videos of consultations and we will
have the resource of an actor to rehearse particular consultation scenarios.
points – varies with courses
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clicking on any of the links below will take you to the
StudentBookWorld.com website to view Book Information and order the books
online if required
Skills for Communicating with Patients Ideal
reading for all participants
Teaching and Learning Communication Skills in Medicine
This book is particularly useful to those involved in teaching Communication
skills with useful course material. The evidence base for Communication skills
training is thoroughly covered.
order form (Free postage offer)
two texts have helped form the basis for our courses, written by Drs Silverman
and Draper with Professor Kurtz from Calgary
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